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Expect More of Same From New Leaders: Top Chinese Official

Wednesday, 7 Nov 2012 | 9:59 PM ET

As China ushers in a once-in-a-decade leadership change with the start of the ruling Communist Party's congress on Thursday, a senior member of the Chinese government says the new generation of leaders will maintain the status quo - continuing policies of the outgoing team.

"In China the power shift already has some institutional arrangement. I think policies have already been made in the past, so the new leaders will follow the existing policies," Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the powerful ruling body, told CNBC in an exclusive interview.

(Read More: China's New Leaders—the Line-Up)

"Certainly, different leaders may have a different leadership style, but the general feeling is that they will follow the existing policy," he said.

As the world's second biggest economy, China's political transition is being closely watched across the globe. And the handover of power comes at a time of great change, with hopes for political and economic reforms running high.

China is facing growing resentment over corruption, a huge demographic challenge as its population ages, threatening its might as a manufacturing hub together, and a slowing economy.

(Read More: The Elderly's Effects on Manufacturing Might)

China's outgoing President Hu Jintao who formally opened the party's Congress on Thursday, said China faced risk and opportunity in equal measure.

Vice President Xi Jinping is tipped to take over from President Hu Jintao in the handover of power, and Vice Premier Li Keqiang is expected to become China's next premier. The make-up of other key posts is unclear.

No Hard Landing

Cheng told CNBC that he did not think China was heading for a hard landing, saying the economy was on track to meet the government's annual growth target of 7.5 percent.

The Chinese economy expanded 7.4 percent in the third quarter, slowing from 7.6 percent in the second quarter and 8.1 percent in the first.

"Certainly… we have to take measures to prevent a hard landing. I think there will be no hard landing," Cheng said, adding that Beijing should continue to steer the economy towards one driven by consumption rather than investment.

"This year we still can have a 7.5 percent growth rate. On the other hand we have to change our development pattern and that means a shift from relying on foreign demand and investment to relying more on domestic consumption and increase productivity and financial efficiency," Cheng said.

- By CNBC's Dhara Ranasinghe; Follow her on Twitter: @Dhara CNBC

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