POLITICS

Naming of Guo Shengkun as security minister divides opinion

Guo Shengkun became nation's top cop this week, but analysts are split on whether he's right for job due to his lack of legal experience

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 December, 2012, 5:05am

New public security minister Guo Shengkun once described himself as a politician with a background in business.

Analysts say it remains to be seen whether that background is enough to make up for his lack of experience in the security system.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee appointed Guo public security minister yesterday, replacing Meng Jianzhu, a member of the Communist Party's 25-strong Politburo who now heads the party's Political and Legal Affairs Commission.

Guo chaired a security teleconference on Monday about a crackdown on drink-driving and drug-driving as the party chief of the Ministry of Public Security.

The 58-year-old former Guangxi party chief spent more than two decades in state-owned enterprises and the non-ferrous metal industry before shifting to politics in 2004.

In a 2010 interview with the party magazine Insight China, Guo said his roles in running an enterprise and governing an autonomous region were comparable because both required "maximisation of interests" - only the clients were different.

"The government should seek to maximise the interests of the public, which are based on the principles of equity and justice," he said. "Introducing the measures of running an enterprise into governing could help improve efficiency."

First trained as an ore-dressing technician in the 1970s, Guo now holds a doctorate in management from the University of Science and Technology Beijing. He led the creation of the state-owned Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) in 2000 and became its general manager and party secretary, as well as steering the dual listing of its subsidiary, Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (Chalco), on the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges.

In 2004, the Jiangxi native was promoted to deputy party head and vice-chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, known for its rich non-ferrous metal reserves. He became the region's party head in 2007.

Some political analysts hope the broad base of knowledge, capabilities and strategic thinking Guo built up in business will help compensate for his lack of experience in overseeing public security.

Professor Zhu Lijia , from the Chinese Academy of Governance in Beijing, said Guo's previous role as Guangxi's party chief would also have given him some familiarity with such matters.

But Professor Hu Xingdou , a Beijing-based commentator, said a public security minister should have the legal knowledge to ensure the security system was run properly, and he was not sure that Guo had it.