Shanghai party official stays despite rumours
Bill Savadove in Shanghai
Shanghai unveiled its new Communist Party leadership yesterday, with long-serving party secretary Huang Ju keeping his post despite persistent rumours of a move to the central Government.
But Gong Xueping, who has kept a tight grip on Shanghai's media since 1997, was absent from the new line-up, stepping down as deputy party secretary.
In an apparent shake-up of the media industry, Wang Zhongwei was named to the party's standing committee.
Mr Wang serves as director of Shanghai's information office and president of the Wenhui-Xinmin Press Group, a key state-owned media organisation. Officials declined to give reasons for the changes.
Shanghai Mayor Chen Liangyu kept his seat as a deputy party secretary but two new officials also took up the job.
Han Zheng, vice-mayor in charge of urban construction, and Ying Yicui, deputy secretary-general of the city government, were named as deputy party secretaries. Liu Yungeng and Luo Shiqian also kept their positions, bringing to five the number of deputy party secretaries.
At a picture session to introduce the new line-up to the media yesterday, Mr Huang emphasised the younger ages of the deputy party secretaries and eight standing committee members. Six of them were aged 50 or under, he said.
'Only I am over 60,' Mr Huang said, laughing.
Mr Huang, party chief since 1994, is widely expected to move up to a central government post.
The announcement of the new Shanghai leadership comes just months before the 16th Party Congress in September or October, when Communist Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin is expected to step down from his party post.
Lower-level party officials will play a role in approving China's next generation of leaders at the congress.
Mr Huang said officials would continue to push development of Shanghai's booming economy.
'We feel the new century means a new team. The responsibilities we shoulder are heavy, but we are fully confident of the future prospects for development,' he said.