Position: Minister of Finance, People's Republic of China
Incumbent: Xie Xuren, 63
Term: Appointed in August 2007, Xie will have served a full five-year term if he retires at the age of 65, as is usual practice for a Chinese minister.
-- Xie wields less clout than many of his foreign counterparts since the Ministry of Finance does not have the final say on fiscal policy. All major decisions in China, be they economic or social, are made by the State Council, or cabinet.
-- The finance minister's main responsibility is to strictly implement the cabinet's fiscal decisions, which occasionally bring him into conflict with spending ministries.
-- Xie keeps a very low public profile, seldom giving media interviews or speaking at public forums.
-- Before he replaced Jin Renqing, who was sacked in the middle of his term, Xie had headed China's tax administration since 2003, overseeing a rapid increase in fiscal revenues.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Langi Chiang and Aileen Wang; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)