CHINA POLITICS

Another ‘princeling’ gets promotion to district chief

Ye Zhonghao, aged 31 and great-grandson of PLA marshal, is following a well-trodden path by starting his political career in a rural areas

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 1:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 5:50pm

The great-grandson of the late PLA Marshal Ye Jianying has been promoted to district chief in Yunfu city in Guangdong, according to the local government website.

Ye Zhonghao, 31, became the head of Yunfu’s High-Tech Industry Development Zone, a major stone industry production and sales base of Guangdong, located about a three-hour drive north of Guangzhou, according to a one-sentence statement released by the city’s Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

Before that, Ye had been secretary of the Communist Youth League’s committee in Yunfu from 2012.

The Ye family have wielded enormous political and economic influence for decades in the national government, the military and in its power base in Guangdong. Although Ye Zhonghao, the son of former Guangdong governor Ye Xuanping, is only a bureau-level official in a backwater city, this latest promotion has attracted attention from political observers at home and abroad.

Ye Zhonghao is seldom in the limelight: the last previous report about him concerned a visit to a technology financial group in Guangzhou in April.

“You media people should stop speculating about [Ye’s promotion]. Comrade Ye is a very low-profile person,” Liang Yu, an official of Yunfu’s propaganda department, said today.

He became an assistant to Chen Zuoquan, head of Yunfu’s Luoding county, in July 2009, a few years after finishing his business degree at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. Later he was promoted to deputy head of Yunfu’s economic planning bureau.

At a curiously high-profile gathering to bid farewell to such a low-ranking official, Luoding Communist Party boss Chen Min praised him, saying: “Comrade Ye Zhonghao readily forwent the cosy working environment around the Pearl River Delta region and chose to work in such a mountainous area.”

For descendants of former state leaders, known as princelings on the mainland, working as a low-ranking official in rural areas has become a common rite of passage to higher office. Last year in June, Deng Zhuodi, 29, grandson of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, was appointed party chief of Xinan, a town administered by Pingguo county in Guangxi.

Even President Xi Jinping, son of former deputy premier Xi Zhongxun, did the same thing, starting his career at a village in Shaanxi in the 1970s and worked his way up.