Propaganda tsar now Guangzhou party chief

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2006, 12:00am

Guangdong propaganda chief Zhu Xiaodan has been named the new party secretary of Guangzhou.

The 53-year-old official typifies the nation's new leadership - young and educated, with an extensive Communist Youth League background and experience gathered from making his way up through the ranks.

Mr Zhu worked his way up the party hierarchy after he was sent to the Guangdong Musical Instrument Factory in Guangzhou in 1971 to lead the factory-based Youth League Committee.

In 1977 he was named head of the general office of the youth league's Guangzhou arm. He was promoted to deputy secretary of the city's Communist Youth League in 1982 and its secretary two years later.

Between 1984 and 1987, Mr Zhu was vice-chairman of the Guangdong Youth Federation and chairman of the Guangzhou Youth Federation. This period overlapped with President Hu Jintao's tenure as chief of the Communist Youth League's Central Committee and the national Youth Federation.

Mr Zhu served as party secretary of Conghua county from 1987 to 1990 and was sent to the Central Party School for training in 1990. In late 1991, he was promoted to head Guangzhou's propaganda department and in 1996 was appointed the city's deputy party secretary while working on a master's degree in economic management from the Central Party School.

He was chief of the United Front Work Department in Guangdong and a vice-chairman of the Guangdong People's Political Consultative Conference from 2002-2003.

Two years ago, in the wake of several public relations disasters, including the Sars outbreak and the fatal beating of a graphic designer in a detention centre, Mr Zhu became the new chief of Guangdong's propaganda department and a member of the provincial party standing committee.

During his time at the department he earned a reputation for raising Guangzhou's international profile as a modern metropolis.

Local academics want Guangzhou's new party secretary to focus on raising local living standards.

'The new leadership has to find a balance and invest more in the city's health care, social insurance and security, not just in image-building hardware projects ... I hope he will focus on helping people improve their living standards,' said Sun Yat Sen University politics professor Guo Weiqing .