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‘Political survivor’ who worked under disgraced Bo Xilai named new Nanjing party boss

Wu Zhenglong, who also worked with corrupt Shanxi Gang, climbs career ladder after weathering political storms

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 October, 2016, 2:34pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 12:54pm

A survivor of political storms in Chongqing and Shanxi has been appointed the deputy Communist Party chief of China’s affluent eastern province of Jiangsu as well as the top party official of its capital, Nanjing.

The appointment of Wu Zheng­long, 52, the outgoing party secretary of the Shanxi provincial capital Taiyuan, to Jiangsu was reported by Nanjing Daily Wednesday afternoon, confirming a South China Morning Post report.

A source in Shanxi said Wu’s move would pave the way for the rest of his career.

Wu is one of the few direct subordinates of disgraced Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai to survive the political aftermath of Bo’s downfall and move up the political ladder. Many of his former Chongqing colleagues were purged in the fallout.

Wu was “parachuted” into Taiyuan as party chief and a standing member of the provincial party committee in August 2014 amid an intense anti-graft crackdown that brought down many officials in Shanxi.

Suffering from a “landslide of corruption”, the party’s standing committee in the resource-rich province lost members in 2014, including Chen Chuanping, the former Taiyuan party boss.

Most of these officials were removed before Wu arrived, but the crackdown continued afterwards.

Bai Yun, a provincial party committee standing member, and Ren Runhou, a vice-governor, came under investigation after Wu’s appointment.

Wang Rulin was also removed as Shanxi’s party boss in late June that year.

Wu was re-elected as Taiyuan’s party chief during a power reshuffle on September 29 this year, according to Taiyuan Daily.

Wu’s new appointment is nominally on the same level as his Taiyuan role but has better prospects because a regional deputy party secretary is generally ­regarded as more powerful than a standing member of a regional party committee.

Wu, a Jiangsu native, was secretary to Bao Xuding for about 10 years, when Bao was the vice-minister and then minister of machinery industry, the vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission and the mayor of Chongqing between 1993 and 2002.

Wu became the acting government head of Chongqing’s Wan­zhou district in 2002, the year Bao retired as Chongqing’s mayor. Wu was also a standing member of the Chongqing party committee between 2007 and 2012, when Bo was party secretary of the massive municipality. Wu’s political career was apparently unaffected by the downfall of Bo, his immediate boss at the time. Wu was transferred to the more powerful position of secretary general of the Chongqing party committee in 2013.

A number of top party officials of regional capitals have fallen since the party’s 18th national congress in late 2012.

The Nanjing Daily report said incumbent Nanjing party chief Huang Lixin would take up a new, unspecified role.

Meanwhile, Xinhua reported that the vacancy left by Wu in Taiyuan had been filled by Wang Weizhong, secretary general of the Shanxi party committee.

In addition, Huang Xiaowei, Shanxi’s top graft-buster, had been named deputy party secretary of the province.