Xi Jinping ally Cai Qi to have senior role at National Security Commission
Keith Zhai and Zhang Hong
A close ally of President Xi Jinping is poised to take up a senior role at the newly created National Security Commission, several sources say.
Cai Qi has stepped down as deputy governor of Zhejiang province and will likely become deputy head of the office administering the security body, according to the sources.
The Communist Party said last year it would set up the commission to co-ordinate and oversee national security issues. The commission is run by Xi, who is also the party's general secretary.
Cai may assume the post of deputy general office director of the new internet security leading group, also headed by Xi.
Cai is viewed as an open-minded official who makes his views known to the public, according to sources who have worked with him. His social media account on the Tencent microblogging platform has more than 10 million followers. The 58-year-old has already moved to Beijing and will report to the head of the security commission's general office, Li Zhanshu .
Another source, citing an official in Zhejiang, said Cai was a close ally of the president.
"Cai stayed in his position as deputy provincial governor for just four months. That job served as a springboard, helping him get promoted to a higher level."
Cai was promoted to executive deputy governor of Zhejiang last November. He had previously worked as head of the province's organisation department.
He worked in Zhejiang for nearly 15 years, climbing the career ladder after becoming mayor of Quzhou in 1999. Before that he worked in Fujian , the province of his birth.
Cai's political career has overlapped Xi's. The president worked in Fujian and Zhejiang from 1985 to 2007.
"Cai was appreciated by Xi when he was a deputy director of Fujian province's political reform office in the early 1990s," one source said.
Additional reporting by Minnie Chan