New Shenzhen mayor says honesty will be a hallmark of his tenure

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 12:00am

Shenzhen's acting mayor lost no time in assuring the public that the period of corruption under Xu Zongheng, his predecessor, was over.

'In the future, if anyone - including my family and comrades - seeks personal gain by citing my name, please refuse without exception,' Wang Rong said during his inaugural speech, Guangdong media reported yesterday.

Mr Wang pledged to Shenzhen's cadres and residents that integrity and honesty would be his hallmarks as the city's new leader.

Mr Xu made a similar pledge when he became Shenzhen mayor in 2005. Mr Xu was detained and then fired last week for corruption and trying to offer bribes for promotion.

Mr Wang, whose nomination will not be approved until the city legislature meets next spring, has already raised expectations with a record of clean and efficient administration and with his achievements in developing Suzhou , Jiangsu - where he was the Communist Party secretary - into an innovative city in the Yangtze Delta.

Shenzhen media has publicised and reviewed his lectures and activities in Suzhou.

'Costs and investment are required for reform, stabilisation and development,' he said in Suzhou in a speech that the Southern Metropolis News reprinted online yesterday.

'We should cut any unnecessary administration expenditure ... We should economise resources, starting from saving a pack of cigarettes ... That's the best return to our taxpayers.'

The newspaper even released a photo of Mr Wang's parents eating a typical lunch - two vegetable dishes - with the caption: 'The old couple lead a frugal life. Leftovers from their lunch will be saved for dinner.'

Local reports also emphasised Mr Wang's showcase project, the Suzhou Industrial Park, a hallmark of co-operation with Singapore.

According to Suzhou media, statistics show that the park generates 16 per cent of Suzhou's gross domestic product, takes up 3.4 per cent of the city's area and contains 5 per cent of its population. Its total exports and imports have hit US$50 billion, with major economic indicators growing 40 per cent annually.

Mr Wang advocates independent innovation to speed up economic growth.

He often praised the achievements of the Suzhou Industrial Park and encouraged Suzhou to catch up with leading cities in the world through innovation and learning from Singapore's success.

His emphasis on a knowledge-based economy and independent innovation is undoubtedly compatible with that of Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang , who seeks to transform the delta into an innovation centre but faces obstacles from vested interests, including business leaders and local cadres.

Thousands of Shenzhen internet users expressed their support for Mr Wang and their expectations. They mostly asked for public security, clean government and faster development of the city.

'You have promised a lot of high hopes to us [Shenzhen residents],' one netizen wrote, addressing Mr Wang directly. 'Please fulfil your promise and don't be a second Xu Zongheng.'