During the National People’s Congress (NPC), the Party released a plan to restructure the government. It has now announced most of the people who will run the new system. The names of the incoming cohort of ministers and other appointees who report directly to the State Council were published the week of 19 March. They will take the helms of agencies that are slated for reorganisation under the NPC plan, passed 21 March. This report introduces the 28 people who sit at the peaks of China’s bureaucracy. They will work under the new State Council Executive Committee, whose members will also take on new roles after reorganisation. China Policy will continue to track and explain these new roles as information becomes available.

Some ministerial portfolios, including agriculture and environment, will emerge from restructuring with a lot more funding and authority; others, including the National Reform and Development Commission and Civil Affairs, are on the chopping block for a bracing streamlining. Some portfolios, including Veterans’ Affairs, are wholly new. These changes are not expected to be fully implemented until 2019, and they will likely consume much of the ministers’ attention for a considerable period.

With the ministries in flux, the Party is putting steady hands at their helms. Of the 28 portfolios, only 12 are filled by wholly new appointees. Nine of those 12 are being promoted from within their organisations, and only one—incoming Minister of Natural Resources Lu Hao—was not previously in a closely related job. Of the 16 re-appointees, 10 continue with the same title, and six take over a new organisation after heading an agency that is being merged to create it.

A number of ministers will have to negotiate new ways of dealing with Party authority. A number of ministries are set to absorb the support offices of central commissions and leading groups, both types of elite policy-making venue, giving them a more direct role in supporting political decision-making. Several appointments, including justice, the central bank and market supervision, will share power with a separate Party secretary in a state-Party division. In this arrangement, less common at this level than a single person appointed to dual roles, the minister is responsible for managing the organisation under the oversight of the Party secretary, a relationship often compared to that of a CEO and chair of a corporate board.

list of appointees
Han Changfu 韩长赋 minister of agriculture and rural affairs
Hu Zejun 胡泽君 national audit office director
Huang Shuxian 黄树贤 minister of civil affairs
Li Ganjie 李干杰 minister of ecology and environment
Zhang Jinan 张纪南 minister of human resources and social security
Ma Xiaowei 马晓伟 national health commission chairman
E Jingping 鄂竟平 minister of water resources
Miao Wei 苗圩 minister of industry and information technology
Fu Zhenghua 傅政华 minister of justice
Guo Shuqing 郭树清 | china banking and insurance regulatory commission chair and PBoC Party secretary
He Lifeng 何立峰 national development and reform commission chairman
Lu Hao 陆昊 minister of natural resources
Chen Baosheng 陈宝生 minister of education
Wang Yupu 王玉普 minister of emergency management
Wang Menghui 王蒙徽 minister of housing and urban-rural development
Zhong Shan 钟山 minister of commerce
Chen Wenqing 陈文清 minister of state security
Wei Fenghe 魏凤和 minister of defence
Yi Gang 易纲 people’s bank of China governor
Zhao Kezhi 赵克志 minister of public security
Wang Zhigang 王志刚 minister of science and technology
Luo Shugang 雒树刚 minister of culture and tourism
Li Xiaopeng 李小鹏 minister of transport
Sun Shaocheng 孙绍骋 minister of veterans’ affairs
Liu Kun 刘昆 minister of finance
Wang Yi 王毅 minister of foreign affairs
Nie Chenxi 聂辰席 state administration of radio and television director
Zhang Mao 张茅 state administration for market regulation director


who is moving the agenda?

Han Changfu 韩长赋 minister of agriculture and rural affairs

Minister of Agriculture 2009-18
Jilin province governor 2007-09
State Council Research Office deputy director 2003-06
Communist Youth League, various roles 1986-01

b. 1952

Han takes over the newly established Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA). The new post is a continuation of previous role as Minister of Agriculture, a position he held for two terms—nearly a decade. Han has had a typical Party career, starting as a student of agricultural economics before joining the the Communist Youth League and serving in parallel Party secretary posts during a standard series of provincial and central promotions.

Han’s expertise prepares him to take on MARA’s expanded responsibilities, which now include the Central Rural Affairs leading Group Office and considerably more funding, Han has experience with policy design in land reform, small-town construction and rural issues beyond the farming sector. A healthy agricultural land transfer system is crucial, he believes, to modern agricultural development. He says that confirming the rights attached to land by completing land registration work is a precondition. Han also stresses state responsibility to secure farmers’ entitlements to compensation and social security following land requisition. Since the rural revitalisation strategy was launched at the 19th Party Congress, Han has highlighted gaps in the existing farmland governance structure that block farm upscaling and restrict access to finance by blocking use of land as collateral. In his new role, he will have more authority and funding to address these bottlenecks.


Hu Zejun 胡泽君 national audit office director

NAO director since April 2017
Supreme People’s Procuratorate deputy party secretary and deputy chief prosecutor 2010-17
Guangdong organisation department director 2004-10
Ministry of Justice vice minister 2001-04
Ministry of Justice Political Department deputy director general 1996-01
Southwest University of Political Science and Law teacher, then administrator 1986-95

b. 1955

Hu Zejun continues as NAO director, the first woman to hold that office. She started her career teaching law in Guangdong before becoming Party secretary of her university. She was concurrently active in the Communist Youth League. She has been a minister-level official since her appointment as Supreme People’s Procuratorate deputy procurator general in 2010.

At NAO, Hu takes an expansive view on the role of auditing. She told Outlook Weekly that the office’s responsibilities go beyond fiscal oversight to include monitoring policy implementation and supporting 19th Party Congress market and governance reform goals. Hu is promoting big data auditing to keep other government branches aligned with political priorities, including financial de-risking, poverty relief and environmental protection. Her office will carry out in-depth fiscal auditing of government finance, state-owned enterprises, welfare spending and state investments. The new central Party auditing committee will be based in NAO, confirming the leadership’s interest in auditing.


Huang Shuxian 黄树贤 minister of civil affairs

Minister of Civil Affairs since 2016
Minister of Supervision 2013-16
National Bureau of Corruption Prevention director 2013-16
Central Anti-Corruption Coordination Small Group Fugitive Repatriation and Asset Recovery Office head 2013-16
CCDI deputy director 2007-16
Beijing Olympics Supervision Committee head 2003-08

b. 1954

Huang Shuxian continues as minister of Civil Affairs. He has 29 years of experience in the disciplinary system. After rising to CCDI deputy director in 2007, his office toppled high level officials, including Shenzhen’s mayor and Guangdong’s CCDI head. He was responsible for ensuring a ‘clean Olympics’ as its supervision committee head and headed up operation ‘Skynet’ 2013-16), leading a cross-agency graft-busting small group to hunt down overseas fugitives.

Huang’s appointment to head civil affairs made him the first Minister of Supervision to transfer to another ministry under State Council. Responsible for social assistance, disaster relief, elderly care and NGOs, the Ministry of Civil Affairs was plagued with fraud and opportunities for graft. In a double takedown, both Huang’s predecessor and the former deputy minister were removed for corruption in 2016. Huang was brought in to impose order. He now presides over a ministry with a vastly reduced remit. Under the reorganisation plan, elderly care is being moved to the National Health Commission, disaster relief to the Ministry of Emergency Management and veterans’ affairs to a new dedicated ministry. Remaining duties include significant challenges, including missions to take on illegal social organisations, fake charities and skyrocketing burial plot prices.


Li Ganjie 李干杰 minister of ecology and environment

Minister of Environmental Protection 2017-18
Hebei province deputy secretary 2016-17
MEP vice minister 2008-16
SEPA vice director 2006-08
SEPA Nuclear Safety Centre director 2001-02
NNSA nuclear reactor department director 1996-98

b. 1964

Li continues to preside over the environment, but heads a larger and more powerful ministry. A nuclear security engineer by training, Li oversaw nuclear safety at the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) and State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA). He moved up the ranks quickly as Party leadership pushed environmental protection. Li was the first MEP vice minister to transfer into provincial government when he was appointed Hebei deputy Party secretary in 2016, as the Party sought to ramp up pollution control in one of the country’s largest industrial bases. In 2017, he was promoted to MEP minister, then the youngest person at that rank. Domestic media interpreted the promotion of a younger, highly specialised official as signalling high-level determination to make environmental regulators more effective.

Li has argued for more information disclosure to inform the public about environmental issues. He favours local transparency and close cooperation between local and central governments. As minister of Ecology and Environment, Li will manage responsibilities previously dispersed among different government departments. Integrating newly transferred offices into his ministry and revising conflicting laws and regulations will be priorities. Heading a ministry with greater regulatory clout, Li is expected to continue tightening environmental control and to develop more holistic approaches to ecological and environmental protection.


Zhang Jinan 张纪南 minister of human resources and social security

State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform director since 2013
17th and 18th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection member 2007-17
CPC Organisation Department vice minister 2007-13
CPC Organisation Department ministerial commissioner (vice-minister rank) 2004-07
Henan Provincial Party Standing Committee and Henan Provincial CPC Committee Organisation Department director 2003-04
Hainan Provincial Party Standing Committee and Hainan Provincial CPC Committee Organisation Department director 2002-03
Hainan Provincial CPC Committee Organisation Department deputy director 1996-02

b. 1957

Zhang Jinan takes over the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MoHRSS). He previously spent 17 years in the Party Organisation Department and as director of the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform, where he reformed personnel systems for the civil service. As MoHRSS minister, Zhang will deal with provincial pension shortfalls: according to domestic media reports in 2017, 13 provincial pension funds can only afford to pay out pensions for less than a year. Managing social insurance fund, MoHRSS is expected to increase insurance contributions and save money, while improving the quality of insurance coverage. Another challenge for Zhang will be service agency reform: MoHRSS is working on unifying the two pension systems that cover public sector service agencies (such as teachers and doctors) and the general employees (such as those in private sector).


Ma Xiaowei 马晓伟 national health commission chairman

National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) vice minister 2013-18
Red Cross Society of China vice president since 2015
Ministry of Health vice minister 2001-13

b. 1959

Ma Xiaowei takes over the new National Health Commission (NHC). After studying medicine at China Medical University (CMU), he worked in the Ministry of Health and the CMU First Hospital, rising to vice president of CMU and director of Liaoning Health Bureau. His portfolio as vice minister of NHFPC included planning and information technology, primary health, maternal and child health and family planning techniques and services.

As NHC chairman, Ma’s priority will be the 2030 goals set out in the ‘Healthy China initiative’. He will lead coordination of stakeholders and a transition in focus from treatment to prevention. NHC also takes over responsibility for elderly care from Ministry of Civil Affairs. Integrating medical and elderly care will be a major challenge. Multi-level care, which makes frequent appearances in Ma’s public speeches, is expected to remain a top priority.


E Jingping 鄂竟平 minister of water resources

Office of South–North Water Diversion Project director since 2010
Ministry of Water Resources vice minister 2003-18
State Flood Control and Drought Relief HQ director general 2001-09
Yellow River Water Conservancy Commission director 1997-01
Ministry of Water Resources Planning Department deputy director general 1983-93

b. 1956

E (pronounced uh) takes over the top spot at Ministry of Water Resources, where he has served as vice minister since 2003. E’s expertise as a hydraulic engineer has served him over three decades as he served in a series of technical management roles at the national level. Unlike most minister-level appointees, he has not ‘served his time’ as a province governor or vice governor. Since 2010, E has headed the South–North Water Diversion Project office under State Council—a responsibility moved to MWR in the latest round of institutional reforms. The role is a powerful one, tasked with delivering, among other things, water security for Beijing and Jingjinji, and with it stable food supply for the region. He describes the project as a last resort, following efforts to conserve water and remediate pollution. With responsibility for managing the ‘arduous’ next phase of water rights reform shifted to the new MNR, E will be freed up to improve infrastructure and develop PPPs in the sector.


Miao Wei 苗圩 minister of industry and information technology

Minister of Industry and Information Technology since 2010
MIIT vice minister 2008-10
Wuhan Municipal Party Secretary 2005-08
Dongfeng Motor general manager 1999-05

b. 1955

Miao Wei continues as Minister of Industry and Information Technology. Since 2010, he has led MIIT in taking over industrial innovation policy, formerly under NDRC. A pro-market reformer, he guided policies that paved the way for 4G wireless telecom services and was a key player in drafting the highly influential ‘Made in China 2025’ plan. He advocates for greater vocational education to supply the next generation of industrial workers for ‘Industry 4.0’. He is also a key supporter of Internet of Things and green vehicle development.

Miao is expected to be an architect of industrial policies for both traditional and emerging sectors. He is tasked with implementing supply-side structural reform, including structural adjustments in overcapacity industries like steel, aluminium and cement. Cutting inefficient capacity, promoting capacity replacement, and improving industry clustering are priorities. MIIT also oversees commercialisation of advanced technologies under the umbrella of Made in China 2025, focusing on smart manufacturing, AI, big data, 5G, NEV and IoT.


Fu Zhenghua 傅政华 minister of justice

Deputy Minister of Public Security 2013-18
610 Office director (Party office targeting illegal cults) 2015-18
Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission 2015-16
Beijing Municipal Bureau of Public Security party secretary and deputy chief 2010-15

b. 1955

A former high-level public security official, Fu takes over as Minister of Justice. His previous position as director of public security in Beijing made him responsible for hardline ‘stability maintenance’ policies. His targets are said to have ranged from human rights lawyers to ‘malicious speculators’ blamed for stock market problems. Fu will work under the Party’s Central Comprehensive Law-based Governance Committee, whose office has been moved into the Ministry of Justice. His role may be mainly operational: he is rumoured not to have a seat on the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the highest body in charge of law and order, social stability and control of cults. Overseas Chinese-language press speculates that he will be subordinate to the new ministry’s legally trained Party secretary, Yuan Shuhong 袁曙宏.


Guo Shuqing 郭树清 | china banking and insurance regulatory commision chair and PBoC Party secretary

CBRC director 2017-18
Shandong governor 2013-16
CSRC director 2011-13
China Construction Bank chair 2005-11
State Administration of Foreign Exchange director 2001-05
Central Huijin Investment chair 2003-05
PBoC vice governor 2001-03
Guizhou vice governor 1998-01

b. 1956

Having just celebrated the one-year anniversary as head of China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), Guo was appointed head of the new CBIRC and later as PBoC Party secretary. His dual posts will give him a role in macro policy-making, and power to keep the micro level in line. This makes him a key person in fighting financial risks, a top priority in Liu He’s economic portfolio.

The merger of CBRC and China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) adds insurance to Guo’s remit. At CBRC he launched a ‘regulatory windstorm’, earning the nickname ‘Whirlwind Guo’. As Guo pushed deleveraging, bank assets saw negative growth in May 2017. On his watch, CBRC levied significantly more penalties and fines and brought down numerous senior bankers. As governor of Shandong, Guo made bold moves to revive the third largest provincial economy and set up the first provincial social security council. Holding 30 percent of Shandong SOE shares (valued at 18 bn), this council provides a check on the provincial SOE administrator and challenges the national council’s pension investment monopoly. As CSRC chair Guo advocated IPO reform, calling for a simpler registration process. The market, not officials, should decide stock value, he insisted. Guo pushed pension funds to invest in stocks, while discouraging low-income individual investors.

Guo’s experience ensures that deleveraging and de-financialisation will continue. As CBIRC head, he will press on with re-regulating the insurance sector, reversing deregulation enacted during the chairmanship of the disgraced Xiang Junbo 项俊波.


He Lifeng 何立峰 national development and reform commission chairman

NDRC chairman since 2017
NDRC vice chairman 2014-17
Tianjin People’s Consultative Conference President 2013-14
Tianjin Deputy Party Secretary and Party Secretary in Binhai New District 2009-13
Xiamen Party Secretary 2005-09
Fuzhou Party Secretary 2000-05
Quanzhou Party Secretary and Mayor 1995-00
Xiamen vice mayor 1992-95
Xiamen Finance Department director 1985-90

b. 1955

He Lifeng remains NDRC chairman. His strong ties to Xi can be traced back to the 80s, when Xi served as Xiamen vice mayor and He headed its finance department. He was among a select few invited to Xi’s low-key wedding to Peng Liyuan 彭丽媛 in 1987. Taking charge of special economic zones in Xiamen and Tianjin, He emerged as a key figure in advancing economic reform, poverty alleviation, and regional economic development.

Appointed NDRC vice chair in 2014, He led implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, advocating integration in infrastructure, institutions and human exchanges to promote interconnectedness with other countries. NDRC also delegated more regulatory powers to lower-level authorities and cut red tape. Despite NDRC’s narrower focus on overseeing economic development rather than running it, He’s mandate remains critical. He will head key policy initiatives including economic zones, regional development coordination, national key fixed-asset investment approval, sectoral reform (such as energy and railways), target setting and the reserves system.


Lu Hao 陆昊 minister of natural resources

Heilongjiang governor 2013-18
Communist Youth League first secretary 2008-13
Beijing vice mayor 2003-08
Zhongguancun Science Park director 1999-01

b. 1967

Lu Hao heads the new Ministry of Natural Resources. A ‘rising star of the sixth generation’, he was the youngest vice mayor in the country when appointed, first secretary of the Communist Youth League and governor of Heilongjiang, a poor rust belt province in the northeast. Lu is the only minister-level appointment in this round with no experience in the ministry he is set to run. Lu has proved himself as a politician in the provinces; this job is an opportunity to demonstrate technocratic chops in the central government. Lu’s swift rise has been dubbed the ‘Lu Hao phenomenon’ and is believed to signal new criterion for selecting leaders: ability to handle difficult situations despite limited political experience. Lu has won plaudits for his honesty and direct confrontation of thorny social and economic issues. He faced such a challenge when the troubled and heavily indebted Longmay Holding Group failed to pay 80,000 miners during his term as Heilongjiang governor in 2016. Lu wrongly claimed in the media that the miners were being paid, angering the miners, but quickly admitted his mistake and ordered that the miners be paid compensation.

Lu is expected to coordinate all resource exploitation, cooperating with the new Ministry of Ecology and Environment on ecological protection and restoration while setting up a spatial planning system to address ecological concerns about land use. He will face considerable challenges in defining ownership of natural resources and separating ownership from management. Unclear ownership rights have allowed local governments to exercise de facto control over natural resources and exploit them for profit.


Chen Baosheng 陈宝生 minister of education

Minister of Education since 2016
China National School of Administration Party chief and vice president 2013-16
CPC Party School vice president 2008-13
Lanzhou Party chief 2004-08
Gansu standing committee member and Minister of Publicity 2002-04

b. 1956

Chen Baosheng continues as Minister of Education. Unlike previous ministers, his ideological credentials outweigh his academic experience. He served as Central Party School vice president before becoming party secretary of the Chinese National School of Administration. He replaced Yuan Guiren 袁贵仁 as Minister of Education in June 2016. In his first inspection tour of Beijing’s top universities, Chen was quick to express support for the ‘world-class 2.0’ higher education reforms. Chen has stressed Party leadership of China’s universities.

At a Two Sessions press conference, Chen promised to address severe rural-urban educational inequality and to ease pressure on students. He will continue to lead the expansion of a controversial gaokao reform to 18 provinces and university reforms intended to serve industry needs.


Wang Yupu 王玉普 minister of emergency management

State Administration of Work Safety director 2017-18
Sinopec chairman and Party chief 2015-17
Chinese Academy of Engineering deputy director 2014-15
State Council Leading Group on Old Industrial Zones Revitalisation member 2011-13
All China Federation of Trade Unions Party chief and vice president 2010-13
Heilongjiang Province deputy governor 2009-10
Daqing Oilfield of CNPC chairman 1999-09

b. 1956

Wang Yupu 王玉普 takes over the new Ministry of Emergency Management. He has held positions in government administration and oil enterprise management. During his 27 years at Daqing, China’s biggest oilfield, Wang strongly supported innovation and research and was praised for his technical expertise. As chairman of Sinopec, the world’s largest oil producer, he took a conservative approach towards SOE reform—unlike his predecessor Fu Chengyu 傅成玉, who aggressively pushed Sinopec’s mixed-ownership program. Wang took over State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) after his predecessor Yang Huanning’s 杨焕宁 was removed for disciplinary reasons in 2017.

As Minister of Emergency Management, Wang will be charged with consolidating responsibilities formerly scattered between a dozen agencies and the now defunct SAWS, each of which had different standards and procedures. His mandate will go beyond work safety to include all large scale crises, such as earthquakes. Epidemics are not currently on MEM’s list of responsibilities but may be added.


Wang Menghui 王蒙徽 minister of housing and urban-rural development

Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD) since 2017
Liaoning standing committee member, party chief of Shenyang city 2016-17
Fujian standing committee member, party chief of Xiamen city 2013-16
Fujian province vice governor 2011-13
Shanwei city mayor 2004-07

b. 1960

Wang Menghui continues as Minister of Housing and Urban Development. Nicknamed the ‘urban planning doctor’, his appointment reflects the Party’s tendency to recruit technical experts as bureaucrats. Wang has extensive on-the-ground experience at city and provincial levels. He set up China’s first urban planning research centre, and carried out a ‘regulatory consolidation’ pilot in Xiamen; this won accolades for its comprehensive integration of local economy, urban and social life. His approach was praised as a ‘Xiamen model’ for other cities.

Wang is tasked with the tough job of controlling housing prices, which have stumped many others. Since taking office in 2017, he has implemented strict purchase and price restrictions, while developing the rental housing market to expand supply. Price controls remain controversial, especially as their long-term impact remains unknown. He will also face pressure to complete an ambitious shantytown renovation plan, targeted to rehouse 150 million residents by 2020.


Zhong Shan 钟山 minister of commerce

Minister of Commerce since 2017
Ministry of Commerce international trade representative since 2013
Vice Minister of Commerce 2008-17
Zhejiang deputy governor 2003-08
Zhejiang Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Department director 1998-03

b. 1955

Zhong Shan continues as Minister of Commerce. Burnishing his credentials in Zhejiang where he spent a decade boosting foreign trade, his term there overlapped with Xi Jinping, (provincial Party chief 2003-7). An economist by training, Zhong is well-versed in anti-dumping cases, ever more valuable as China finds itself up against US and EU anti-dumping investigations. Zhong defends China’s dependence on foreign trade, arguing it is a natural result of competitive and globalised manufacturing and brushing away concerns about a potential economic crisis.

At MofCOM, Zhong faces a tall order. He is charged with balancing China’s opening up and protecting its interests in an increasingly troubled global trade environment. An early priority is the China International Import Expo in November 2018, the centrepiece of a strategy to reorient the export-led economy to a more balanced stance. MofCOM is also tasked with delivering on poverty alleviation as stressed at the 19th Party Congress.


Chen Wenqing 陈文清 minister of state security

Ministry of State Security party chief since 2015 and minister since 2016
vice-secretary of Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) 2012-15
vice governor of Fujian 2011-12
secretary of Fujian Commission for Discipline Inspection 2006-11
procurator-general of Sichuan 2002-06
director of Sichuan State Security Bureau 1998-02

b. 1960

Chen Wenqing continues as Minister of State Security. He ran Sichuan’s major political and legal affairs organs: public security, state security (intelligence and investigation) and the procuratorate. Dedicated to discipline inspection affairs since 2006, he won Sun Chunlan’s 孙春兰 praise as Fujian Commission for Discipline Inspection chair, and proceeded to work closely with Wang Qishan 王岐山 as his deputy. During Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, Chen helped remove infamous security head Zhou Yongkang 周永康 and security ministers Lu Zhongwei 陆忠伟 and Ma Jian 马建.

As chair of MSS, Chen’s remit includes anti-espionage, anti-subversion, and general intelligence collection and analysis. The ministry also facilitates anti-corruption work with its surveillance and investigative capabilities. The new National Security Law and Cybersecurity Law grant Chen and his ministry free reign to actively collect both domestically and global intelligence, censor the internet, and watch over society. Innovative tools such as AI and big data are expected to boost Chen’s MSS effectiveness.


Wei Fenghe 魏凤和 minister of defence

Rocket Force commander-in-chief 2015-17 (as General and CMC member)
Second Artillery Corps commander-in-chief 2012-15 (as General and CMC member)
Second Artillery Corps chief of staff 2006-12
Second Artillery Corps various ranks 1970-06

b. 1954

Wei Fenghe takes over as minister of defence, succeeding General Chang Wanquan 常万全 who was appointed in 2012. In that year Wei was promoted to general just days after Xi Jinping became Central Military Commission (CMC) chair. He was reportedly one of the first to respond to a 2017 call for a pledge of personal loyalty to Xi, preceding Xi’s ambitious PLA restructure. In 2015, CMC ordered him to split his unit, the Second Artillery Corps, creating a Rocket Force in charge of nuclear and conventional missiles led by Wei and a Strategic Support Force in charge of intelligence, navigation satellites and cyber capabilities. The breakup left Wei with a smaller portfolio, but put him in command of a missile command with equal status to land, sea and air forces. It also may have strengthened his ties with Xi.

By appointing Wei to head the defence ministry, Xi may be preparing for another round of military reform, especially to overcome resistance to private players entering the defence sector. Wei will preside over an amply funded ministry, following NPC approval of a 1.1 bn military budget for 2018, an 8.1 percent increase.


Yi Gang 易纲 people’s bank of china governor

PBoC vice governor 2007-18
PBoC assistant governor 2004-07
PBoC monetary policy department director 2003-04
(US) Indiana University economic department faculty 1986-94 (received tenure 1992)

b. 1958

Yi was promoted to PBoC governor after serving more than ten years as vice governor in charge of monetary policy and international business. Known as level-headed, Yi cautions regulators against overreacting to market events. Not afraid to defy groupthink, Yi advocated demand-side management to avoid debt-deflation spirals during the rush to implement supply-side reform and deleveraging in early 2016. He made an even riskier departure from the Party line by calling for stabilising deleveraging in 2016, advocating limits on leverage growth rather than leverage itself. Relatively liberal on finance, Yi called for greater RMB flexibility after increased capital controls in 2015-17. Yi and former PBoC vice governor Wu Xiaoling have advocated revising the 2007 Corporate Bankruptcy Law, to allow individuals to declare bankruptcy and create a bankruptcy tribunal system.

Likely picked to ensure policy continuity, Yi is expected to proceed with gradual financial market liberalisation. Topping his agenda are asset management regulation, opening the finance industry to foreign investment, and floating the RMB exchange rate. His role is limited to implementation since decision making power remains with the Financial Development and Stability Committee chaired by vice premier Liu He 刘鹤.

Yi will also work together with CBIRC chair Guo Shuqing, appointed Party secretary and vice-governor of the PBoC on 26 March. Guo will be in charge of PBoC’s human resources, party matters and reforms, whereas Yi will be in charge of the concrete operations, reports Caixin. ‘I will be a helping hand for Governor Yi in the central bank, who will be first-in-command over the central bank’s operations’, said Guo in an internal meeting.


Zhao Kezhi 赵克志 minister of public security

State Councillor and State Council party committee member since 2017
Party Secretary and Minister of Public Security since 2017
Hebei province party secretary 2015-17
Guizhou province party secretary 2012-15
Politburo Standing Committee member and vice governor of Jiangsu province 2006-10
Shandong province vice governor 2001-06
Shandong province Dezhou city party secretary 1997-01

b. 1953

Zhao Kezhi succeeds Guo Shengkun as Party secretary and Minister of Public Security. As Guizhou Party secretary, Zhao worked with Li Zhanshu 栗战书 NPC chairman and politburo standing committee member, and Chen Miner 陈敏尔 Chongqing party secretary. He was transferred to Hebei to contain the fallout from his predecessor Zhou Benshun, who was jailed for corruption. There, he went great lengths to achieve ambitious policy goals, containing pollution by banning coal heating in the winter, and laying groundwork for the development of Xiongan New Area.

Zhao takes on conventional responsibilities like cracking down on general crime and guaranteeing public safety. He is also expected to venture into unfamiliar territory, examining the behaviour of business tycoons and stopping the proliferation of illegal crowdfunding schemes.


Wang Zhigang 王志刚 minister of science and technology

MoST vice minister 2011-18
China Electronic Technology Group Corporation (CETG) general manager 2003-11
China Electronic Technology Centre (CETC) vice director 1999-02
China Software Service Corporation general manager 1996-99

b. 1957

Wang Zhigang takes over the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) from Wan Gang 万钢 (minister since 2007). A senior electronic information engineer, Wan has technical know-now and experience from managing SOEs specialised in high-tech. MoST vice minister for the last seven years, Wang’s ascension should help sci-tech innovation policies remains consistent.

Wang inherits a growing ministry tasked with promoting high-quality and innovation-driven growth, absorbing State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) and National Natural Science Foundation (NSFC) under the reorganisation plan. Key focuses are supporting economic transformation and upgrading manufacturing. This includes sci-tech research administration and funding reform, guiding basic research and major national R&D projects, and commercialising technologies including AI, big data, IoT, NEVs and 5G.


Luo Shugang 雒树刚 minister of culture and tourism

Minister of Culture 2014-18
Central Propaganda Department executive deputy head 2008-14
Central Commission for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress of the Communist Party of China office director 2008-14
Central Propaganda Department vice minister 2003-08

b. 1955

Luo leads the newly established Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT). This follows a lengthy career in Party ideological and cultural institutions. Luo studied at the Central Party School before joining the Party’s flagship political theory periodical Qiushi. In the 2000s, he was second-in-command of the Party’s propaganda work and led a central commission responsible for ‘culture and ethics’. He joined the Party Central Committee at the 18th Party Congress, shortly before his promotion to Minister of Culture. At the head of the new ministry, Luo will be tasked with promoting soft power and Chinese cultural influence.


Li Xiaopeng 李小鹏 minister of transport

Minister of Transport since 2016

Shanxi Province governor 2013-16
Shanxi Province vice-governor 2008-13
Huaneng Power International chief executive 2002-08
China Huaneng Group chief executive 1999-08

b. 1954

Li continues as Minister of Transport. Son of former conservative premier Li Peng 李鹏 (1988-99), his career took him to the top of Huaneng, a major energy SOE. Li survived a massive anti-corruption campaign in coal-rich Shanxi province shortly after his appointment as governor, but was not appointed as provincial Party chief as expected. He took over as Minister of Transport in 2016, despite little previous experience in the sector.

Li is expected to develop a cleaner, safer transport system and scale down subsidies, including those for fishing vessels—a new responsibility. He is also charged with implementing important infrastructure projects to integrate rural areas into the larger economy and improve logistics. MoT will also support large international infrastructure development projects to serve the Belt and Road Initiative.


Sun Shaocheng 孙绍骋 minister of veterans’ affairs

Ministry of Land and Natural Resources vice minister 2017-18
Ministry of Civil Affairs vice minister 2017
Shanxi vice governor 2014-17
Shandong Province vice governor 2012-14
Ministry of Civil Affairs vice minister 2009-12

b. 1960

Sun takes over the new Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs as it spins off from his former home, the Ministry of Civil Affairs. During his tenure at the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, Sun was known for his commitment to Party principles, particularly in managing maritime issues such as the South China Sea.

Noted for his warm leadership style, Sun is experienced in handling diverse work streams: in Shandong, his portfolio spread across land management, housing and urban planning, as well as population and family planning. As Minister of Veterans’ Affairs, he will be tasked with allaying veterans’ discontent with previous policies, managing their pensions and employment, and support for families of veterans.


Liu Kun 刘昆 minister of finance

NPC budget committee director 2016-18
MoF vice minister 2013-16
Guangdong deputy governor 2010-13
Guangdong finance department director 2002-10

b. 1956

New Minister of Finance Liu kept a relatively low profile as director of the NPC budget committee for the last two years. He has on-the-ground experience in both central and local finance work. In Guangdong, he stayed ahead of the curve and set trends in budgeting and service provision. His promotion to MoF vice minister in 2013 was considered unusual, since deputy governors are normally promoted directly to the central government. In his previous term at MoF, Liu oversaw its most important departments, including economic development and the treasury. As NPC budget director, he conducted numerous field trips and conferences, flagging unregulated local spending and attempting to reduce corporate tax burdens.

Liu will face pressure to continue numerous ongoing fiscal reforms, from central-local redistribution to PPP. His ministry will also have to manage the drafting of laws to authorise 12 taxes. Currently, only six of China’s 18 national taxes are authorised by law. The rest are collected on the authority of the State Council, but under a 2014 NPC decision all taxes must be authorised by law by 2020. The long-anticipated property tax also remains atop the 2018 MoF agenda.


Wang Yi 王毅 minister of foreign affairs

Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2013
Ambassador to Japan 2004-07
Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy minister 1998-2001

b. 1953

A long time high-flyer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi has retained the position of Minister with his promotion to State Councilor despite his age. The promotion places him in a unique position: a minister with above minister-level rank. He has been a constant fixture in every aspect of foreign policy, ranging from the India standoff and Belt and Road to the South China Sea and Sino-US relationship. Known both for his charm and a sometimes abrasive public posture, Wang’s focus on relations with the Middle East and Africa seek to highlight China’s record as a partner. He has been vocal on issues ranging from Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations to the structure and focus of Chinese aid to Africa.

Some see Wang as more ‘resourceful’ than his technocratic predecessor Yang Jiechi 杨洁篪. His rise testifies to the Xi’s ‘New Era’ of proactive diplomacy. Nonetheless, experts in the field are sceptical of his actual influence on foreign policy design.


Nie Chenxi 聂辰席 state administration of radio and television director

Central Department of Publicity deputy director since 2016
China Central Television (CCTV) director-general and State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) director 2015-18
SAPPRFT deputy director 2013-15
State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) deputy director 2012-13
Hebei Province vice governor 2011-12
Hebei Province Department of Publicity director 2007-11
Handan: party chief 2004-06, mayor 2003-04, head of Commission for Discipline Inspection 2001-03, head of Department of Organisation 1999-01

b. 1957

Nie Chenxi will preside over the new State Administration of Radio and Television (SART). A former IT engineer, Nie was the first person since the 1990s appointed CCTV chief with no private media experience. At the Hebei Propaganda Department, Nie was credited with the province’s explosive development in patriotic films and plays, including the well-known 2010 film Aftershock and popular 2007 TV drama Soldiers Sortie.

The ministerial restructuring split SAPPRFT into two parts. Its press, publication and film functions came under the Party propaganda office management, leaving radio and television in Nie’s hands. His first task is to consolidate CCTV, China National Radio (CNR) and China Radio International (CRI) into an integrated national media platform called Voice of China (VOC). Modelled after Voice of America, VOC will advance Party soft power efforts, and broadcast China’s stories to the world.


Zhang Mao 张茅 state administration for market regulation director

State Administration of Industry and Commerce director since 2013
Ministry of Health party secretary and deputy director 2009-13
National Development and Reform Commission vice chairman 2006-13
Beijing Municipality vice mayor 1998-06

b. 1954

Zhang Mao, former SAIC director, was appointed director of the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR). During his tenure as deputy mayor of Beijing, Zhang was involved in planning the Beijing Olympics, and headed the working group to fight SARS. He then joined the central government, working as National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) deputy director and Ministry of Health deputy director and party secretary before heading up SAIC. Zhang will work with Bi Jingquan 毕井泉 former CFDA director, who was appointed SAMR deputy director and Party secretary.

The aim of the new super-regulator, Zhang has said, is to create an internationally competitive market environment through reform and innovation so that the market can play a better role in the transition to high-quality economic development. He praised Tianjin for merging market supervision agencies into a single agency in response to local frustrations on food quality and safety issues, a successful grassroots reform that set a precedent for the new central agency. Zhang was set to lead a new inter-ministerial group for market supervision in late 2017, with representatives of MofCOM and NDRC as deputies, and is likely to continue in this role.


in case you missed it…

cp.signals—domestic policy movement
a revolutionary government overhaul (overview)
embracing imports

cp.positions—audit of shifts across policy sectors
economy: trade war, and more…
governance: total overhaul, and more…

cp.observer—monthly roundup
january: centralising power and tightening the economy
december: the New Era Socialist Economy with Chinese Characteristics


Revised 10 April 2018