Leadership set to reshuffle positions in key provinces
Wang Xiangwei and Shi Jiangtao in Beijing
The mainland leadership looks set to reshuffle senior positions in several key provinces, kicking off political manoeuvring that analysts expect to last until the next top leadership changes in 2012.
Jilin province Communist Party chief Dr Wang Min is expected to take over the top post in neighbouring Liaoning , according to sources who have been briefed on the matter.
His position will be filled by 46-year-old Agriculture Minister Dr Sun Zhengcai, who would become one of the youngest provincial party chiefs.
Jilin governor Han Changfu will replace Sun as agriculture minister, and Jilin deputy party chief Wang Rulin will become the new governor. Both are considered members of the so-called tuanpai - those with a background in the Communist Youth League, President Hu Jintao's power base.
Political analysts said the reshuffles, expected to be announced in the next few days, signalled that preparations for the next party congress in 2012 were under way.
Vice-President Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang are expected to head the fifth-generation leadership.
Officials who were promoted this time, many of whom were formerly academics, would have good opportunities to take more important government posts in the coming years, analysts said.
Wang Min, 59, has a PhD in machinery manufacturing, and Sun has a PhD in agriculture.
A native of Anhui and a former party chief of affluent Suzhou , in Jiangsu , Wang Min is known for his economic and trade expertise. He became Jilin governor in 2005 and party boss in 2006.
Han, 55, was a former vice-minister of agriculture before he was made Jilin governor in early 2007.
Sources said an announcement involving several senior Jilin officials was expected to be made as early as today at a meeting of local cadres.
Meanwhile, the vice-chairwoman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, Sun Chunlan , 59, is expected to move to the coastal province of Fujian to replace party chief Lu Zhangong .
Lu, 57, is tipped to become party secretary in the central province of Henan , replacing Xu Guangchun, who turned 65 this month, the mandatory retirement age for provincial and ministerial officials.
Speculation has been rife in recent weeks about a major shake-up of provincial and central government posts, which usually takes place midway between two party congresses.
Other senior officials rumoured to be retiring soon because of age include Inner Mongolia party chief Chu Bo, Beijing party boss Liu Qi, Xinjiang party chief Wang Lequan and Li Rongrong, head of the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.