Hu loyalists get half of new personnel posts

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 January, 2009, 12:00am

President Hu Jintao has consolidated his grip over regional governments, with news emerging that half of the new appointments to head the powerful organisational departments at local Communist Party organs have gone to his political loyalists.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party, the mainland's top decision-making body with Mr Hu as general secretary, has so far named 20 new chiefs for 31 party organs' organisational departments, which make personnel appointments at provincial level.

Among these regional personnel affairs chiefs, 15 came from the Communist Youth League, Mr Hu's power base, the Southern Net, an affiliated website of Guangdong party newspaper Nanfang Daily has reported.

Mr Hu was chief of the Communist Youth League during the 1980s. Known as the party's 'reserve army', it boasts 71.9 million members. Since he took power in 2002, Mr Hu has promoted many ex-league officials to fill top positions in central and regional party and government organs.

'Among the current 31 ministers of provincial organisational departments, 15 had had working experience with the Communist Youth League, and 25 were born after the 1950s,' the report said.

Equally important, none of the newly appointed personnel chiefs are natives of the province to which they have been posted - a divide-and-rule strategy by Beijing to fight nepotism and prevent local authorities becoming too powerful.

Beijing believes that appointing people from outside to head key positions in a province can help balance local interests and avoid favouritism.

Eleven of the 20 new personnel chiefs were former officials with central agencies, and nine were officials from other regions.

'This could help curb nepotism, corruption and other unhealthy trends involved in ... appointments and promotions,' said Wang Yukai , a professor at the National School of Administration.

On Saturday, the party's Central Organisational Department said it would crack down on rampant 'unhealthy practices' in personnel appointments.

Media reports said that in some regions, personnel appointments and promotions for party organs and civil service posts were secretly being bought and sold.