China’s Politburo has long been dominated by economic technocrats. But a recent change in its composition indicates an important new direction in the policy intentions of China’s political leadership, with a much greater focus on science and technology.
The promotion of a new generation of scientists to the 24-member Politburo – five of 11 newly appointed members are from distinguished scientific backgrounds – reflects President Xi Jinping’s ambitions to boost the country’s economic and technological self-reliance.
In this discussion, speakers draw upon Chatham House’s research paper The new scientists: The emerging Chinese leaders behind Xi Jinping’s drive for technological self-reliance to decipher the professional and political track record of these new Politburo members and consider what these appointments might mean for Beijing’s drive for technological self-reliance.
Who are the five ‘new scientists’ and what have they achieved in their respective fields of scientific research?
To what extent do these appointments mark a fundamental shift in Beijing’s economic policymaking and foreign relations?
Amid intensifying friction between China and the West, will China be able to achieve scientific breakthrough by relying on its homegrown talent?