Asian Insider

Who China's next premier will be hinges on the 'seven up, eight down' rule

Chinese President Xi Jinping (right), Premier Li Keqiang (left) and other Politburo Standing Committee members arriving for a reception in September in Beijing. PHOTO: AFP
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BEIJING - In February 2001, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin confided in visiting Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien that he would not retire at the 16th congress of the Communist Party of China the following year.

Mr Jiang, then 74, was toying with the idea of clinging on to his top-ranking seat in the party's seven-member Politburo Standing Committee - the apex of power in China - and as party general secretary at the conclave in 2002.

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