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China Daily Website

Chinese leaders make power ranking

Updated: 2012-12-07 03:34
By ZHOU WA and ZHAO SHENGNAN ( China Daily)

China's new leadership occupied two of the Top 20 places in Forbes' latest ranking of the 71 most powerful people in the world.

The list also features a number of Chinese entrepreneurs.

Analysts said the list shows the important role China plays on the global stage and the world's expectations of the fast developing Asian country.

Xi Jinping, China's newly-elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, ranked ninth, while Vice-Premier Li Keqiang ranked 13th in Forbes' list of the World's Most Powerful People of 2012, although the two have only just assumed their new leading roles in the CPC.

"It shows the high expectation placed on China's new leadership to wield bigger influence to lead China to achieve better development and deeper reform," said Zhang Zhi'an, an associate professor of the School of Communication and Design at Sun Yat-sen University.

Although Xi and Li were elected as the top leaders of the CPC about 20 days ago, they have already started to implement reforms, which has drawn much attention and triggered heated discussion within China, he said.

At a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee chaired by Xi on Tuesday, a document detailing specific requirements relating to eight areas of the work of officials was adopted.

The document outlines requirements for officials to reduce meetings, condense papers, minimize traffic control during officials' visits and exercise thriftly. The outline has been welcomed with great enthusiasm by the Chinese public.

Besides the two new leaders, Chinese entrepreneurs are also featured on the list, including Chairman of China Investment Corp Lou Jiwei ranked 39th, and Founder and CEO of Chinese online search giant Baidu Robin Li ranked 64th.

Sun Yingchun, a professor at the Institute of Communication Studies under the Communication University of China, said Chinese entrepreneurs are selected because they play a more important role in the recovery of the world economy, and have an international influence.

But one cannot take the rankings too seriously because the list, compiled by a company in the US, is largely influenced by US political interests and Western values. In 2010, the list placed Chinese President Hu Jintao at No 1, because a struggling US economy needed China's cooperation more than ever at that time, Sun said.

The annual list names people who Forbes claim were the world's 71 most powerful people, based on factors ranging from wealth to global influence.

To create the ranking, which Forbes readily concedes bore a measure of subjectivity, editors graded candidates on four criteria for power and then averaged the four grades: Power over lots of people, financial resources controlled, whether the person has power in various spheres of life and whether that person actively uses their power.

The most powerful person of 2011, US President Barack Obama, again led the list, followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia and British Prime Minister David Cameron were also in the Top 10.

"This year's list reflects the changing of the guard in the world's two most powerful countries: the United States and China," said Michael Noer, Forbes' executive editor.

Age was also not a barrier, with two of the youngest and oldest of this year's most powerful prople — 28-year-old Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and 81-year-old News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch — back-to-back at numbers 25 and 26.

Others, such as New York's billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, scored high in all areas, placing him at 16th, while former US president Bill Clinton placed 50th.

Contact the writers at zhouwa@chinadaily.com.cn and zhaoshengnan@chinadaily.com.cn

Reuters and AFP contributed to this story.

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