Xi Jinping greets the press for the first time as Communist Party general secretary on Nov. 15. (Photo/Xinhua)
The brain trust of China's new leader Xi Jinping is dominated by a "wunderkind" and an "old soldier," reports Duowei News, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.
The so-called wunderkind is Li Shulei, the current vice president of the Central Party School. At "just" 49 years of age, Li is regarded as a prodigy and has reportedly been transferred to Xi's administration as his political secretary.
Li is a graduate of of the Central Party School and holds a master's degree and a PhD in modern literature from Peking University. He reportedly met Xi while working in Xi'an, the capital of the northwestern province of Shaanxi. Xi recommended Li as vice president of the party school shortly after he became its president in December 2007, according to Duowei.
Li earned the wunderkind moniker while studying at Peking University, when he wrote many cultural essays and columns for domestic newspapers which also earned him the reputation of a "fifth-generation critic," aptly paralleling Xi's status as a fifth-generation party leader. Xi is said to have chosen Li as an adviser and speechwriter because of his attention to social realities and his ability to pen both long and short pieces.
The "old soldier" is 60-year-old Liu He, the current deputy director of the Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, an inner group of the party's Central Committee. While Liu is not exactly old by the standards of Chinese politics, he was indeed once a soldier with the elite 38th Army of the PLA. Xi is the third party leader for whom Liu has written economic speeches.
A graduate of Beijing's Renmin University of China, Liu is regarded as a unique economist in that he has participated in the drafting of all of the government's five-year plans dating back to the eighth plan between 1991 and 1995. He also has overseas experience, having studied at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and he holds a master of public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Sources say that apart from overall economic performance, Liu is particularly focused this year on the issues of urbanization and the optimization and upgrading of industrial infrastructure. On the political front, Liu is said to be targeting the strengthening of party leadership on economic issues.
Xi Jinping 習近平
Li Shulei 李書磊
Liu He 劉鶴