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Xi Jinping’s leadership reshuffle revealed: meet the pair poised to become two of China’s most powerful men


President Xi Jinping’s trusted ally Li Zhanshu stands a good chance of becoming chairman of China’s parliament while Communist Party organisation chief Zhao Leji is likely to head its corruption watchdog, sources have told the South China Morning Post. Li is widely expected to be elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee – the ruling party’s top echelon of power – on Wednesday, a day after the party’s 19th national congress closes in Beijing. Most observers had predicted he would succeed Wang Qishan as anti-corruption. “Li Zhanshu will succeed Zhang Dejiang”, a source familiar with the situation said, adding that Zhao would also be promoted into the Politburo Standing Committee and was likely to succeed Wang Qishan in leading anti- corruption work. The moves were confirmed separately by another source. Li was one of the key officials who accompanied Xi to Hong Kong in July for celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty. Professor Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said Xi had clearly spelled out political directions for Hong Kong during that visit. “Whoever takes over from Zhang Dejiang will only be an implementer”, he said. “I believe Xi will continue to watch over Hong Kong affairs. But given the strong ties between Xi and Li, if Li takes charge of Hong Kong affairs, he will understand the president’s thinking better than others”.

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