By Edward Cody
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, October 22, 2007; Page A17
BEIJING, Oct. 22 — Xi Jinping, the son of a Chinese guerrilla leader who rose through the ranks to become Communist Party chief in business-friendly Shanghai, was designated Monday as the most likely successor to President Hu Jintao as leader of the world’s most populous nation.
Xi, 54, a Ph. D. in economics, was the highest ranked of four newcomers in a new Politburo Standing Committee, the pinnacle of power in China’s Communist system. The nine-man group, including Hu and four other holdovers, was unveiled at a ritual introductory appearance before journalists following its acclamation by the new Central Committee that emerged Sunday from the party’s week-long 17th National Congress.