NPC 2018: Who's who in China's Cabinet

(Clockwise, from left) Premier Li Keqiang, Executive Vice-Premier Han Zheng, Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan, Vice-Premier Liu He and Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua.
(Clockwise, from left) Premier Li Keqiang, Executive Vice-Premier Han Zheng, Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan, Vice-Premier Liu He and Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua.PHOTOS: REUTERS, EPA-EFE, BLOOMBERG

At the just-closed National People's Congress (NPC), or Chinese Parliament, Mr Xi Jinping started his second term as China's president, flanked by a new-vice president, Mr Wang Qishan, who was previously the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) chief anti-corruption enforcer.

The NPC also endorsed Premier Li Keqiang, four vice-premiers and other ministers.

1. Li Keqiang, 62, Premier


PHOTO: REUTERS

Li began his second five-year term on Sunday (March 18).

His power base, like former president Hu Jintao, lies with the Communist Youth League.

The former party boss of Henan and Liaoning provinces graduated with a Law degree from Peking University and also received higher degrees in Economics.

2. Han Zheng, 63, Executive Vice-Premier


PHOTO: EPA-EFE

An economist by training, Han is currently the only vice-premier who is also a member of

the CCP's apex seven-member Politburo Standing Committee (PSC).

He was Shanghai Communist Party boss from 2012 to 2017.

3. Sun Chunlan, 67, Vice-Premier


PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Sun replaces Vice-Premier Liu Yandong as the only woman occupying a top government post in China.

With a mechanics degree, she was most recently tasked with running the United Front Work Department, an agency that oversees outreach beyond the party hierarchy.

Prior to that, she was party boss of Tianjin municipality.

4. Hu Chunhua, 54, Vice-Premier


PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Once seen as a potential successor to Xi, Hu's political prospects dimmed after Xi declined to promote him to the PSC last year. Still, Hu's appointment as vice-premier provides the former Guangdong provincial party chief with a key perch to influence policy-making for the next five years.

Like Premier Li, Hu is also linked to the Communist Youth League faction of former president Hu.

He graducated from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Peking University.

5. Liu He, 66, Vice-Premier


PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The Harvard-educated technocrat is President Xi's top economic adviser.

As director of the General Office serving the Communist Party's Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, Liu is at the core of Xi's inner circle.

A source said Xi and Liu knew each other during their teens, and have kept in touch over the years.

SOME OTHER KEY NEW APPOINTMENTS

1. Yang Xiaodu, 64, Anti-Graft Director


PHOTO: REUTERS

Widely seen as a protege of former anti-corruption czar Wang Qishan, Yang has become the first director of the new National Supervisory Commission. He will have wide powers to detain and investigate officials for legal and ethical violations.

His stint on Shanghai's top party committee overlapped with Xi's tenure leading the municipality in 2007.

2. Wei Fenghe, 63, Defence Minister


PHOTO: REUTERS

The former strategic missile force chief has been named defence minister.

The career artillery officer was the first officer to be promoted to full general when Xi took office as CCP chief in 2012.

His appointment as defence minister puts him at No. 4 on the military hierarchy, after Xi and the two vice-chairs of the Central Military Commission, and ahead of the other three CMC members.

3. Li Ganjie, 53, Environment Minister


PHOTO: REUTERS

Li, who became environmental minister in June, will wield new powers to rein in carbon emissions and fight climate change under the latest government shake-up.

The new Ministry of Ecology and Environment will be among the agencies spearheading Xi's critical battle against polluted air, soil and water.

Li was previously vice-minister and head of the National Nuclear Safety Administration.

4. Lu Hao, 50, Natural Resources Minister


PHOTO: REUTERS

Heilongjiang governor Lu will lead the new Ministry of Natural Resources, which has control over grasslands, forests, wetlands, water and maritime resources, and urban and township planning.

Lu became Beijing's youngest vice-mayor in 2003 at the age of 35,

and China's youngest minister-level official when he was made first secretary of the Communist Youth League at 41.

Former President Hu, Premier Li, Vice-Premier Hu are also from the league, a powerful faction within the CCP.

Sources: Xinhua, Bloomberg, NYTIMES