Xinhua reports that Xi Jinping has taken control of the military commission.
The composition of new standing committee of the Chinese politburo that has just emerged this morning reflects the disappointing "stay the course" theme of outgoing Party General Secretary's Work Report at the opening of the 18th Congress. There are no members among them identifying as in the kaiming (enlightened) faction represented by pro-Western reformers such as the leader of Guangdong Wang Yang. It is hard to imagine that this groups will pay little more than lip service to addressing official corruption and to the pressing need to stimulate domestic demand to reduce difference between rich and poor. Strong measures under strong charismatic leaders are needed to renew and refocus the Party to regain popular support. This bland and largely undistinguished group appears to be the harbinger of a Brezhnev-like era in China with no meaningful reform of political and legal institutions or the winding down of the police state security apparatus. Transferring Wang Qishan off the economic portfolio suggests that therer will be further reorientation of the economy toward state enterprises and more Party direction of economic development. Xi immediately displacing Hu Jintao as Chairman of the Central Military Commission further suggests the eclipse of the relatively liberal Youth League faction and a full consolidation of power by Jiang Zemin's Shanghai faction and the taizidang (Princeling faction). Canadian was hoping for a younger more liberal more open group, but in Communist Party terms what we are getting are a more conservative and less open to the west group of younger leaders. This does not bode well for China's future in general nor for improved Canada-China relations in specific.