A little leap in place. Faced with less strong growth than expected, Xi Jinping decided to change nothing, or almost. The Chinese leader thus kept the director of its central bank in office on Sunday, to everyone’s surprise. Yi Gang’s reappointment as Governor of the People’s Bank of China was confirmed at a meeting of the Chinese Parliament, amid expectations that Mr. Yi, who has reached the age of retirement, leaving office.
China has also retained other top economic officials, including Wang Wentao and Liu Kun, who will remain trade minister and finance minister, respectively, as well as National Health Commission director Ma Xiaowei, who has overseen policy. “zero Covid” of the country.
Li Shangfu at Defense
General Li Shangfu, who was sanctioned by the US government in 2018 for buying Russian weapons, has been named defense minister. Tensions between the United States and China have escalated in recent weeks, following the entry of a Chinese spy balloon into American airspace and accusations that Beijing may be supplying Moscow with weapons to use against Ukraine.
Beijing has also confirmed key allies of President Xi Jinping in his new cabinet. Ding Xuexiang, one of Xi Jinping’s top aides, and He Lifeng, a longtime colleague of the Chinese president, have been named deputy prime ministers by new Premier Li Qiang.
Ideology despite growth?
To cement his grip on power, Mr Xi has filled the highest ranks of government with loyalists, with his staunch ally Li Qiang confirmed as prime minister on Saturday, a day after Xi was unanimously re-elected for a historic third term as president.
“Both Ding and He have been close political allies of President Xi, and Mr. He and President Xi have known each other for decades,” Nomura analysts wrote in a note this week. “These close relations could help the new government to implement its policy and ensure inter-ministerial coordination,” analysts said.
Xi Jinping’s decision to rally loyalists at the top of the Communist Party has rekindled fears that he is prioritizing ideology over economic growth. China has set a growth target of ‘about 5%’ for 2023, one of the lowest in decades, as the world’s second-largest economy largely missed its growth target amid tight restrictions and a smoldering real estate crisis.