Xi Stacks Government With Science, Tech Experts Amid U.S. Rivalry

HONG KONG—Chinese leader Xi Jinping has packed the top ranks of the Communist Party with a new generation of leaders who have experience in aerospace, artificial intelligence and other strategically important areas, as Beijing seeks to become a science and technology superpower that rivals the U.S.

The roster of officials with backgrounds in science and technology on the party’s 205-member Central Committee has rebounded to roughly the length it had during former leader Jiang Zemin’s first five-year term, beginning in 1992, when he kicked off a rapid acceleration of scientific research and innovation. The increase comes as Washington takes steps both to contain China’s tech sector and boost U.S. innovation.