Replaced chief moves to Hebei
Zhang Qingli, replaced three days ago as party chief of the sometimes-restive region of Tibet, was yesterday appointed to oversee the central province of Hebei, the latest in a series of reshuffles of provincial-level officials ahead of a key Communist Party congress in autumn next year.
Zhang, 60, was named party secretary of Hebei at a top provincial meeting supervised by party personnel officials flown in from Beijing, Xinhua reported.
Zhang Qingli's predecessor, Zhang Yunchuan, who retired into a largely ceremonial role with the National People's Congress - the country's top legislature - is overseeing protection of the environment and natural resources, Xinhua reported yesterday. Zhang Qingli was replaced on Thursday by Chen Quanguo, the 56-year-old former governor of Hebei.
Chen's appointment to lead the strategically important Tibet region was widely believed to be a promotion, while Zhang Qingli's transfer to Hebei has raised speculation about the future of the 60-year-old official who is perceived as a hardliner within the party.
In 2008, Zhang Qingli oversaw a harsh crackdown when Tibetans began rioting after a protest in Lhasa was suppressed. Monasteries were shut down, monks and other Tibetans were put into 'patriotic re-education' classes and camps, and paramilitary police officers were posted throughout Lhasa.
Beijing blamed the Dalai Lama, whom Zhang Qingli said was 'a wolf in monk's robes' and the 'scum of Buddhism'.
Zhang was transferred to Tibet in 2005 after he spent six years in another ethnically volatile region, Xinjiang, where he was given several posts.
In other reshuffles announced yesterday, the former party chief of Hainan province, Wei Liucheng, and Zhejiang provincial governor Lu Zushan were appointed deputy directors of an NPC committee in charge of fiscal and economic policies. Bai Enpei, a former Yunnan party chief, was named deputy director of the NPC committee overseeing environmental protection.
Xinhua also reported that Liu Jixing was appointed as president of the PLA military court during the NPC's session that ended on Friday.