Xi’s corruption probe keeps body in charge of personnel appointments busy
Party's personnel department facing 'higher than normal' strain to fill vacant leadership posts across the country amid corruption crackdown
Laura Zhou and Andrea Chen
The busiest Communist Party department during President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign has obviously been its top corruption buster, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). But there is another, less visible bureau facing a heavy burden.
The Central Organisation Department, which is in charge of appointments, has been facing higher pressure than usual to replace leaders taken away in graft investigations, according to a commentary on the official People's Daily website.
Dozens of top government posts have been left vacant in Xi's crackdown on "tigers and flies".
The department, led by Politburo member Zhao Leji, must search for suitable candidates for the vacated posts.
On Wednesday, the department named Ren Xuefeng, former deputy mayor of Tianjin, as party chief of Guangzhou after a two-month vacancy.
Ren replaces Wan Qingliang, who was sacked over a graft investigation.
In Yunnan, Gao Jinsong, the party chief of Qujing city, was promoted to party chief of the province's capital, Kunming . Before that, Kunming had been without a party chief for 47 days.
Gao's predecessor, Zhang Tianxin, was sacked and expelled from the party last month. He was accused of causing a "loss of state assets" and "taking advantage of his office".
More high-profile seats are waiting to be filled, including two provincial-level posts and three deputy governor posts, People's Daily said.
Among these posts are vice-chairman of the Sichuan's People's Political Consultative Conference, a post previously held by Li Chongxi, and chief of the central leading group on dealing with heretical religions, vacated by Li Dongsheng . The two men, who are not related, had ties to ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang, the most powerful politician caught up in Xi's graft crackdown.
Deputy governor posts in Jiangxi, Shanxi and Hainan are also vacant.
The Central Organisation Department has pledged to implement stricter promotion rules in line with Xi's call to improve the recruitment process for party cadres.
Meanwhile, five provinces and three ministries have more discipline inspectors in their ranks as part of a CCDI reform scheme launched in April.
Shaanxi province, for example, added four provincial discipline inspection offices to the three existing ones, following directives from the CCDI to increase the number of staff and offices handling graft investigations, and to raise the status of the party's graft busters.