Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign

100 days without a leader: Graft probes leave many local governments bereft of party chiefs

Guangzhou, Kunming, Sanya and Yuncheng are currently functioning without top leaders

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 1:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 September, 2014, 7:06pm

Several local governments in China have been left without top leaders for weeks – or even months – after their chiefs were hauled away for corruption investigations and other reasons.

Four cities – Guangzhou, Kunming, Sanya and Yuncheng – are currently bereft of party chiefs.

Guangzhou has been functioning without a party chief for 42 days and Kunming for 28 days.

The Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, its anti-graft watchdog, announced that Guangzhou party chief Wan Qingliang was under investigation on June 27.

Wan, once seen as a rising political star, was sacked from his plum position as chief of Guangdong province’s capital, which is typically considered a stepping stone to higher office.

Kunming party chief Zhang Tianxin, who helmed the largest city of Yunnan province, was removed from his post on July 12 for alleged violations to party disciplines – a term usually referring to corruption.

The party said at the time that Zhang caused a “loss of state assets”. Earlier, on June 19, Wang Maoshe, who was party chief of Yuncheng in Shanxi province, was hauled away by investigators and his name was erased from the city government’s website, said.

The CCDI has not officially announced if he was under investigation. There have been announcements yet about succession plans in the three cities. Typically, the deputy party chief will lead the government until a new chief is named by the party.

Not all absent officials were impeded by graft investigations under President Xi Jinping’s sweeping more than two-year crackdown.

Sanya, a popular island destination among tourists, has not had a top leader for more than seven months, according to news website, since former party chief Jiang Sixian was transferred to Shanghai as deputy director of the city’s municipal people’s congress on December 27.

Since then, Wang Yong, the deputy party chief and mayor of Sanya, has been working in Jiang’s place.

Lower in the bureaucracy, counties such as Shou in Anhui province and Pingding in Shanxi have been working without a local party head for around 100 days.

“There is no rule on the time limit of the vacancy,” Peking University School of Government professor Yan Jirong was quoted by the news website as saying.

“But if there is no top boss, there must be someone temporarily doing the work. So the vacancy won’t bring significant effects on the government operation,” Yan said.