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Fifth Generation: Who is Yu Zhengsheng?

This is the fourth in a series of posts examining the Chinese leaders expected to be named to the Politburo Standing Committee during the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (中国共产党) that kicked off November 8.  Prior installments on Zhang Gaoli here, Zhang Dejiang here and Liu Yunshan here.

Today, we continue our look at the expected members of the Party’s new Politburo Standing Committee with Yu Zhengsheng (俞正声), currently the Party secretary of Shanghai municipality — where he presided over the citywide expo in 2010 — and a Politburo member since 2002.

Yu’s elevation — if true — to the Standing Committee would seem to be a victory for the conservative elite — he’s a ‘princeling,’ a cautious economic reformer  at best, and close to former leader Deng Xiaoping and former leader Jiang Zemin (江泽民).  With the Congress likely to reduce the number of Standing Committee members from nine to seven, his inclusion would mean the exclusion of the relatively more reformist Party secretary of Guangdong province, Wang Yang (汪洋) and the leader of the Party’s organization department, Li Yuanchao (李源潮) — Wang, and especially Li, are considered protégés of the outgoing general secretary, president and ‘paramount leader,’ Hu Jintao (胡锦涛).

He served as the Party’s minister of construction from 1998 to 2001.

From 2002 to 2007, he was the Party secretary in Hubei province, a province of over 57 million people in central China, home to the Three Gorges Dam.

Cheng Li, director of research and a senior fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center, notes in his profile of Yu his ‘extraordinary family background’: Continue reading Fifth Generation: Who is Yu Zhengsheng?