What experts say of new China leadership
BEIJING - Both scenarios have been widely speculated, and both have come true on Thursday morning when the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) completed its once-a-decade leadership transition and unveiled its new leadership.
The apex Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) - downsized from a previous nine to seven members - features four deemed to be proteges of former president Jiang Zemin. Only incoming premier Li Keqiang is deemed a clear-cut protege of just-retired party chief, President Hu Jintao.
The quartet - Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, 66; Shanghai boss Yu Zhengsheng, 67; propaganda chief Liu Yunshan, 65 and Tianjin boss Zhang Gaoli, 66 - are described as "conservatives" and have raised concerns that they might slow much-needed reforms in China.
Another scenario: Making a break from his predecessors, Mr Hu has made a historic full retirement from power by relinquishing his post as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) to new party chief Xi Jinping, 59, who will take charge for the next decade. Vice-Premier Wang Qishan, 64, completes the line-up as the new anti-corruption chief.
Veteran China watchers give their assessments below on the new PSC line-up and Mr Hu's full retirement and what they mean for China going forward:
University of Nottingham analyst Steve Tsang: "One powerful reason for Hu to step down as CMC chair is to make it more difficult for Jiang Zemin to continue asserting influence after the party congress by making it clear that the retired leaders should stay retired. But Hu would only do so if he is certain that his family and associates in the Communist Youth League would not suffer with him making full retirement... The reality is that the whole leadership selection process is meant to produce 'safe pairs of hands' as top leaders. This is what makes Wang Yang less likely to be picked for the Politburo Standing Committee as he is more of a risk-taker than the other candidates. The non-risk takers are less likely to introduce major reforms, including restructuring the economy, which is the biggest problem for the leadership succession."
East Asian Institute analyst Guo Liangping: "The inclusion of conservatives in the Politburo Standing Committee means that we can expect some political stability in the short term because there won't be major policy changes and shake-ups. This means it would be business as usual in the short run.
But in the long term, as the society is changing, the pressure for change will rise. Second, most of the vested parties within the establishment will breathe a sigh of relief as the new PSC line-up will mean a continuation of the current status quo. So the fight against corruption will remain more rhetoric than real and there won't be privatisation of the state-owned enterprises. There also won't be renewed talk on the separation of government from party. The CCP's role and power will be unchallenged."
Beijing-based observer Russell Leigh Moses: "The major issue is not who is in the Politburo Standing Committee. Rather it is what will come out of it. If there had been so much horsetrading over the seats before today, it means there will be a need for the new leaders to hold on to power rather than make policies. The level of uncertainties reflects how different the policy directions are among the top leadership... I would put it this way: Thursday is not the end of anything but the beginning of a struggle for power and policy."