Beijing has laid down the criteria for selecting a new generation of provincial leaders in the latest round of personnel changes, the latest Outlook magazine reported. The magazine, which is published by Xinhua, said a notice was issued recently by the central leadership spelling out the requirements for the provincial leadership changes that will be completed in the first half of next year. The personnel changes, already under way in many provinces, will set the stage for a party conference to be held in October, which in turn will be a precursor to the 17th Communist Party Congress scheduled for late next year, when a new generation of top leaders will take centre-stage. Many of these rising stars are expected to be in their early 50s, university-educated and likely to come from the Communist Party Youth League, which is the bastion of President Hu Jintao . Future provincial leaders must have a high political standard, be professionally capable, have a good record in their personal life and have earned the trust of the public, the Outlook report said. In order to select the right candidates, it said selection would be based on a 'scientific method of assessment' - a concept promoted under the leadership of President Hu. Special emphasis would be placed on the candidates' record in public administration, combating corruption, promoting consensus and personal qualities such as honesty and modesty. In particular, the appraisal of future leaders would not be based solely on their economic performance but would also look at areas such as promoting social harmony and achievements in protecting the environment. Song Fufan, from the Central Party School, was quoted as saying the criteria exemplified the concept of 'putting the people first' - another political principle promoted by Mr Hu - and would give the ongoing provincial leadership change a 'clear direction'. Several provinces have taken the lead in streamlining the bureaucracy, as requested by party leaders in the Fourth Plenum of the 16th Party Congress held in 2004. Provinces such as Hebei, Anhui, Fujian, Ningxia and Hainan have cut the number of vice-party secretaries to three. Professor Song said the goal of the streamlining was to improve co-ordination and work efficiency and reduce friction within the provincial leadership. A recent survey quoted by the weekly said the problem of bloated leadership structures was common across the country. The Outlook report said a bloated structure meant many positions overlapped and provincial leaders often found themselves buried in meetings and managing huge support teams.