CHINA’S new leaders have turned to veteran technocrats, many with strong international experience, to staff the Cabinet charged with overhauling the economy and raising the country’s global profile.
The largely ceremonial parliament approved nearly three dozen trusted politicians, experienced officials and diplomats who will make up the State Council under prime minister Li Keqiang. Their appointment largely completes a once-a-decade transfer of power to a new generation of Communist leaders.
The new team takes charge at a time of difficult transitions. The Beijing regime is looking to transform the world’s second-largest economy by nurturing self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and technology industries instead of labour-intensive exports and investment.
A more assertive foreign policy, cyber-hacking and years of scouring the world for resources have caused nervousness among China’s neighbours and set off a small but potentially threatening backlash against Chinese investment in Africa and Latin America.
The new Cabinet consists of officials who embarked on their careers as China was re-entering world trade and politics after decades of isolation. They are representative of how far China’s reach extends, having more international exposure than their predecessors.
“They will have a more rational and objective view of China and the relationship between China and the rest of the world,” said Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Peking University. “It means they are more cognisant of how the world reacts to China and that they will be more active in seeking changes. That’s a good thing.”
China’s economy is limping out of its deepest slump since the 2008 global crisis, but a dip in February in sales and factory output has spurred fears that the rebound might be faltering.