Beijing : As China’s old guard walks towards the sunset, the country is poised for a new era of ‘princelings’ with a new pack of rulers, mainly offsprings of erstwhile Communist leaders, gearing up to take on the mantle. The new leaders hailing from influential families would be formally selected during the key Congress beginning on November 8. To be attended by 2270 delegates, the conference is expected to last for a week.

The new President-to-be, Xi Jinping, currently the Vice President and officially projected as Hu Jintao’s successor is the son of Xi Zhongxun, a liberal Communist Party revolutionary and former Vice Premier who was persecuted by Party founder Mao Zedong during the dreaded Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Though a privileged son Xi Jinping got the wrong end of the stick of Mao and worked for seven years in Liangjiahe, an obscure village in his native Shaanxi province under the party’s grassroots programme before rising in the ranks after the death of the Party founder.

The world opened for Xi after the death Mao and advent of liberal and reformist leader Deng Xiaoping. Born in Beijing in 1953, Xi studied chemical engineering at Tsinghua University before joining the in 1974. He is married to China’s most famous folk singer Peng Liyuan.

Yet another princeling, Li Keqiang, 57, currently the Vice Premier is set to take over as the new Premier, succeeding suave, popular, Wen Jiabao. With princelings at the helm, analysts say China formally join the ranks of several Asian countries including India and Pakistan where families of the ruling elite emerged as the frontrunners in power politics. Born in 1955 into the family of a local official Dingyuan County, Li reportedly refused his father’s proposition to be groomed to be the leader local county of the Communist Party.

 During the Cultural Revolution he was sent to the rural labour camp in Fengyang County, Anhui, where he eventually joined the Communist Party. So far the party has projected Xi and Li as the new front line leaders and the much about others is not yet known. Another official, Wang Qishan, currently the second Vice Premier and tipped to get a top post in the new Standing Committee is also a son of a top official.

 The only woman in the Liu Yandong, who could be the first woman to make it to top if she was selected is also the daughter of a former vice-minister of agriculture. — PTI

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