By Hong Soon-do, Beijing correspondent, AsiaToday
As China prepares to introduce a new leadership in 2022, eyes are not only on Xi Jinping's likely successors or so-called sixth generation Communist Party leaders but the chosen few expected to come to power in 2030s when China might overtake the U.S.. At earliest, some of the seventh generation could be the objects of promotion discussion during the 6th plenary session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, which will be held from Oct. 24 to 27.
According to a source familiar with China's political information on Sunday, such observations are not exaggeration considering the fact that the fifth leadership will officially leave office in 2022. The leadership of the next next generation generally receives spotlight five years ahead of the succession of the next generation leadership. It means that eyes are now on the seventh generation. Besides, China has its leaders planned far off into the future so the rise of the seventh generation can be seen as the reflection of the demands of the times.
The seventh generation, which is often referred to as "qi ling hou" - those born in the decade of 1970s, is getting the spotlight by Chinese media outlets, including the communist party's flagship newspaper People's Daily. The particularly noteworthy rising star of the seventh generation is Liu Jie, former secretary of Xinyu Committee of CPC. Liu Jie is a technocrat who has been receiving the party's attention since young. He is yet regarded as the copy of Hu Chunhua, party secretary of Guangdong and the strong candidate of the next general secretary Hu Chunhua. It is widely rumored that Liu Jie will soon be promoted to vice governor of Jiangxi Province in the near future. Another noteworthy rising political star is Teng Gang, mayor of Xiaogan City. Both Liu Jie and Teng Gang are known to be leaders of the seventh generation.
Apart from them, Liu Jian, 46, party secretary of Xinjiang Atlay; Zhou Hongbo, 46, mayor of Nanning City; and Lian Yueqin, 45, deputy secretary of Huaian are also rising stars of the seventh generation. Wang Yi, 36, secretary of the Communist Youth League of Henan provincial party committee, is a young female cadre that stands out among her colleagues. She is on a fast track considering the fact that former general secretary Hu Jintao became a secretary of Gansu Province at the age of 40.
The seventh generation will come to the front when the 20th Party Congress takes place in 2022. They are more well-educated that former generations, and are technocrats with expertise. Besides, they have accumulated a lot of experience in the politics due to their early commitment to politics. We could say that the seventh generation era is already on the doorstep.