Provincial chiefs named as a new generation steps up
Beijing appoints party bosses and four governors in key regions, as official confirms appointment of new negotiator for Taiwan
Keith Zhai and Minnie Chan
A number of new provincial Communist Party bosses were appointed yesterday, plus four deputy party secretaries expected to succeed provincial governors who have already been given new jobs.
Meanwhile, a Taiwan affairs official from Fuzhou, Fujian , yesterday confirmed speculation that former trade minister Chen Deming would become the mainland's top negotiator with Taiwan.
Zhou Benshun, secretary general of the party's Political and Legal Affairs Commission, has been appointed party chief of Hebei province, succeeding Zhang Qingli , who was made a vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference last week.
Zhou, 60, is widely considered a protégé of retired security tsar Zhou Yongkang and a hard-line party official. In a 2011 article published in the party journal Qiushi, he described the concept of civil society as a politically dangerous trap that Western countries wanted to sell to China.
Over in the northern autonomous region of Ningxia , chairwoman-in-waiting Liu Hui is set to become one of the few women in China's governing elite. Liu, 53, was appointed as vice-chairwoman of Ningxia's government last month and had now been appointed the region's deputy party secretary.
Liu, who spent most of her political career in the region's Communist Youth League, is expected to become acting chairwoman of the government until formal confirmation of that role at the region's people's congress meeting early next year.
Former national youth league head Lu Hao , a 45-year-old rising star, was appointed deputy party secretary of Heilongjiang province, putting him in line to succeed governor Wang Xiankui , 61, who was appointed as Heilongjiang's party secretary.
Henan governor Guo Gengmao was also promoted to provincial party secretary, replacing Lu Zhangong , who was elected as vice-chairman of the CPPCC.
Former State Council policy research chief Xie Fuzhan is set to become Henan's governor.
Qinghai party chief Qiang Wei officially became the top party official in Jiangxi province, as predicted on Tuesday.
Cai Fuchao , former head of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, made his first appearance on Tuesday as director of the reorganised department which now also oversees the press and publishing.
A Taiwan affairs official from Fuzhou said in Hong Kong yesterday that Chen Deming would soon become chairman of Beijing's semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait.
"The cross-strait economic and trading talks have entered deep water, with investment protection and the trading of commodities and services being the most difficult topics," the official said on the sidelines of a commercial forum.