Reshuffle to clean up Shanxi politics: top official

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2014, 4:06am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 September, 2014, 9:01am

A top Communist Party leader said yesterday that severe corruption and a "problematic" political scene had prompted a reshuffle in coal-rich Shanxi province.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and head of the party secretariat, made the public remarks to Shanxi officials as the party announced that former Jilin party chief Wang Rulin would take over from Yuan Chunqing as Shanxi's provincial party boss, Xinhua reported.

Shanxi has been mired in months of corruption scandals that have ensnared seven top provincial officials and several coal tycoons. The detained officials include Ling Zhengce, the brother of Ling Jihua, who was a top aide to former president Hu Jintao .

Yuan will take up a new job as deputy head of the party's Central Rural Work Leading Group, according to a social media report by party mouthpiece People's Daily.

The announcement confirms a Sunday Morning Post report this week that Wang, 61, would take over from Yuan.

Liu called on cadres to "improve Shanxi's political ecology".

"The party headquarters takes Shanxi's problems and the development of the province's leaders and officials seriously, and decided to have a major reshuffle of the provincial party committee," Xinhua cited Liu as saying.

Deng Yuwen, a former editor of the Study Times, a newspaper affiliated with the Central Party School, said Liu's visit to Shanxi reflected the seriousness of the corruption problem in the province.

"It is very rare for a Politburo Standing Committee member to announce personnel reshuffles. Usually, it is done by officials from the Central Organisation Department," Deng said.

Deng said Shanxi was vulnerable to corruption because of the wealth of its coal reserves, with government officials and businesses colluding to fix coal prices.