Guangzhou party boss heads for bigger things

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 December, 2011, 12:00am


Guangzhou party boss Zhang Guangning will be replaced by mayor Wan Qingliang in the latest in a series of leadership reshuffles in Guangdong ahead of the Communist Party's 18th national congress next autumn.

The Yancheng Evening News reported the change was announced at a meeting of Guangzhou cadres yesterday. The next political appointment for Zhang, a 58-year-old former steelworker, was not made clear.

Zhang said he was proud to have served the people of Guangzhou. 'I am born and raised in Guangzhou and have worked in state-owned enterprises for 26 years,' he said. 'Being a politician for 15 years has been the most memorable time of my life ... my roots lie in the home of grass-roots Guangzhou people.'

Analysts said Zhang's achievements had included the successful staging of the Asian Games last year and progress towards making Guangzhou a more civilised city, and they could result in further promotion.

Zhang has been tipped to take up a key position with the Central Government's Liaison Office in Hong Kong but is also rumoured to be in line for a high-ranking position in Beijing or a role in Hainan as the province's executive vice-governor.

The promotion of Wan, a Guangdong native from the Hakka ethnic group, adds to the growing influence of Hakka officials with experience in the Communist Youth League in Guangdong. Wan was party secretary of the league's Guangdong committee.

A Guangzhou-based analyst said that with Guangdong party chief Wang Yang expected to leave Guangdong in a future top-level reshuffle, the power and influence of native Guangdong officials was set to increase.

Wang, a rising political star, is expected to be elevated to a senior national post at the 18th party congress. He is one of the most closely watched contenders for a position on the Politburo Standing Committee in next year's leadership reshuffle, and has been seen as competing with Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai .

A researcher at the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, Dr Peng Peng, said the local leadership reshuffles in Guangdong and Chongqing were the most closely watched on the mainland.

'Most of the key leadership positions in the rest of the country have been announced already, except for Chongqing and Guangdong,' Peng said. 'Political arrangements in these two places are closely tied to the settings for the 18th party congress.'

Chen Jianhua, the former Heyuan party boss, was named deputy party chief yesterday and he is expected to become Guangzhou mayor. He was the secretary of the former Guangdong party chief Xie Fei in 1984 and is known as a pragmatic and open-minded leader.