18th Party Congress

Locals and tourists have their say on new Standing Committee

With new Standing Commitee confirmed, people on streets of Beijing give their opinions, thoughts and hopes for the future to Keith Zhai and Li Jing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 2:54am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 6:26am

Kim Min-young, South Korean student in Beijing

“I know there’s an 18th congress and Xi Jinping is the new chairman of China. It is interesting to study the leadership reshuffle here. Everyone votes for a new leader in South Korea, but they don’t do that in China. My uncle says Xi has close ties with Samsung, so I hope his leadership will help Korean companies in China. There’s a lot of media coverage on the congress, but at the same time the Chinese don’t care much. We Koreans care about our election, which takes place in December, even if we are overseas. I guess it’s because ordinary Chinese can’t vote. I hope they will pay attention to local politics, because the leadership matters to our lives.”

Hu Jingrui, retired journalist from the People’s Daily

“Xi Jinping is the son of a revolutionary cadre, so I’m very confident of him and of the country’s future. Both Yu Zhengsheng and Zhang Gaoli had made quite good accomplishments in Shanghai and Tianjin respectively. But I didn’t expect Liu Yunshan to make it into the Standing Committee, as publicity work under him had not been very effective during the past decade. Everyone is worried about corruption. It will determine the fate of the Communist Party. The ideological education of the public needs to be tightened.”

Xu Man, researcher of economic policy

“The new leadership should aim to narrow the wealth gap. It will be a huge challenge, but I really hope to see free medical care for children and the elderly. The new leaders are likely to face economic woes, with the property bubble the biggest concern. It’s also high time the economic model was changed. Rising labour and land costs have made it hard to maintain a high growth rate. I don’t understand why Wang Qishan is appointed to head the anti-corruption agency, given his good record and reputation in the economy. But since the seven Standing Committee members form a team, Wang may still wield some influence.”

Tsering Nammey, 31, Tibetan Buddhist from Qinghai  

“Among the new leaders, I know only Xi Jinping. He is a good guy, I think. I hope he will introduce policies on religion to encourage more Han Chinese to learn about Tibetan Buddhism. More religious freedom is what I hope to see.”



Yu Ling, businesswoman

“I happened to learn of the reshuffle only yesterday, from CCTV news. You know, Xi Jinping’s wife Peng Liyuan is a famous singer; I love her songs. I may know the new leaders’ names, but not what they’re like. Our election is different from the US ballot. Everyone knows Barack Obama and his family, but our leaders are shrouded in too many secrets.”

Xiao Jianshu, 52, Sichuan construction worker

“The fundamental task for the new leaders is equality, to allow everyone equal rights. I’m happy about Hu Jintao’s administration. If I could vote, I would vote for him again.”




Li Mengchong, news-stand clerk, Shandong

“I hope to see the new generation of leaders show more care to farmers and adopt tougher foreign policies. The current leaders are afraid to lose China’s economic partners and take a weak stance against other countries on territorial issues. Villages have been under so-called new socialist countryside construction for years, but nothing has changed. I know Xi Jinping is [slated to be] the new president.  What do I know about him? Oh, his father was Xi Zhongxun.” 

Song Guimei, 44, parking attendant

“I’m very busy and didn’t have time to check the new line-up. I don’t have many expectations, as long as they manage the country well. But I hope everyone will have food on the table. I know only Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang because they appear often.”
When asked if she was happy about the new leadership, she answered caustically: “Well, I’ll make my comments after I see their performance.”

Yin Peng, 29, designer

“I hope for political reform. I do care about politics, and I’ve heard there is a cruel political struggle between the left and right wings. I want to find out China’s direction under the new generation, which I think is pro-right-wing. I didn’t watch them on television because it would have been useless. What could I have done except worry about the country?”


Chen Zhuying, 74

“The new leaders should take the middle way, because in the past they had run into setbacks when they took the left or right way. As a Hubei native, I’m happy that Yu Zhengsheng, who had worked in the province before, has made it to the top echelons. Wang Qishan is not bad. The older generations, such as Hu Jintao , Wen Jiabao, Zhu Rongji and Jiang Zemin, were very capable leaders. But I’m not sure about Xi Jinping – he looks so honest and straightforward – whether he would be as capable as Hu.”