Zhu aide to play watchdog role
Despite Zhu Rongji's retirement, a top aide of the former premier is expected to take a senior position at the nation's new banking regulator.
Little-known Li Wei, head of Mr Zhu's office until last month, is likely to be appointed as a vice-chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), alongside former central bank deputy governors Yan Haiwang and Shi Jiliang, according to sources.
A central bank official yesterday said the CBRC would probably be set up by the end of this month.
Scant information about Mr Li is available. Previously the director of Mr Zhu's office, he was the deputy director of the State Council's research office until Mr Zhu's retirement last month.
His position is not likely to be as influential as that of Mr Yan; a close associate of Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao, Mr Yan is widely expected to become the regulator's party secretary.
In a rare arrangement, the regulator's chairman, Liu Mingkang, will hold the position of deputy party secretary.
Mr Liu's appointment will be the last for senior positions at the new regulator.
Strong and capable executives will be crucial for the CBRC in asserting its independence after taking over the central bank's regulatory functions.
Its establishment marks an important step towards putting China's banking sector, which is struggling with huge non-performing loans, in better shape.
Citigroup senior economist Huang Yiping said he believed it would take several months for the CBRC to establish a smoothly running operation.