As the nation concentrates on battling economic headwinds, China surprised everyone on Sunday by keeping the head of its central bank. Yi Gang was confirmed as the governor of the People’s Bank of China during a meeting of China’s rubber-stamp national legislature to name the country’s new cabinet, contrary to anticipation that Yi, who is approaching retirement age, would resign.
Unlike his predecessors in other important nations, Yi has little influence over monetary policy. His official responsibilities include “implementing monetary policy,” or carrying out judgements made by an opaque policymaking body.
The problem facing the cabinet is to revive the Chinese economy, which grew by just 3% last year, one of its poorest performance since the 1970s. This placed great pressure on the President and leader of the ruling Communist Party Xi Jinping to revive the economy.
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China’s housing industry, which together with construction accounts for more than a quarter of GDP, is still in a depression. Since Beijing began to take action against excessive borrowing and unrestrained speculation in 2020, the market has taken a significant hit.
Who are the current government officials in China?
Other important economic figures were also kept by China, notably the ministries of finance and commerce, Wang Wentao and Liu Kun respectively.
State and public security ministers Chen Yixin and Wang Xiaohong were retained in their positions. The positions of ministers of foreign affairs and justice, respectively, for Qin Gang and He Rong, were also retained.
In the meantime, China appointed Li Shangfu, a general authorised by the US, as its new minister of defence. Due to Li’s acquisition of combat aircraft and equipment from Russia’s primary arms supplier, the US has placed her under sanctions since 2018.
Beijing also appointed important Xi Jinping loyalists to its cabinet.
Li Qiang, the new premier, proposed He Lifeng and Ding Xuexiang, two of top Xi’s close associates, for vice premierships.
In carrying with Xi’s priority for confidants to carry out his reform plan, Ding will work alongside newly appointed Premier Li Qiang.
Ding is now acting as Xi’s chief of staff while also serving as the director of the party’s General Office. Also, he holds the sixth position out of seven members of the influential Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee, which is led by Xi.
One of the three vice premiers is He Lifeng, a close supporter of Xi who heads the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a core planning organisation.
He is most likely to be given responsibility for the finance and economic portfolio, which was formerly held by Liu He, who was regarded as the chief negotiator with the United States about trade sanctions.
Another vice premier was chosen, Zhang Guoqing, a former chairman of the arms manufacturer China North Industrial Group.
The central bank will be placed under the National Financial Regulatory Administration, which was just founded, as part of the extensive reforms that were announced during the parliamentary session. Compared to the Chinese Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, this organization will play a larger role.
Concerns about Xi prioritising ideology above economic progress have been fanned by his choice to cram the Communist Party’s top leadership with loyalists.
China has set a growth target of “around 5%” for 2023, amongst the lowest in recent memory, even though the second-largest economy in the world considerably underperformed its growth objective in the face of strict Covid regulations and a simmering housing crisis.
This week, the national assembly approved a comprehensive reorganization of government agencies to increase manufacturing independence.