Communist Party boss of hi-tech hub Shenzhen to head north for new post

Ma Xingrui expected to become governor of Jilin province, sources say

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 8:04am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 8:04am

The top Communist Party official overseeing the hi-tech hub of Shenzhen is tipped to head north to lead the government of a rust-belt province in a fresh round of senior personnel changes ahead of next year’s party congress, sources said on Sunday.

Space scientist and Shenzhen party boss Ma Xingrui, 57, would soon be made Jilin province’s governor, filling the void left by Jiang Chaoliang, who was formally named Hubei’s party boss over the weekend, according to a Beijing-based source.

The changes come after the 300-plus alternate and full members of the party’s Central Committee met in Beijing last week for their four-day sixth plenum.

It remains unclear who will succeed Ma in Shenzhen but his deputy, Xu Qin, has been the city’s mayor for more than six years.

Ma is a full committee member but Xu is neither a full nor an alternate member of the body.

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Ma was elected a full Central Committee member in late 2012, when he was general manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

He was parachuted into Guangdong as the province’s deputy party chief and top law enforcer, before going on to become the top party official in Shenzhen early last year.

As one of the country’s most senior space scientists and a ­former chief commander of China’s lunar programme, Ma’s strong background in technology helped ensure his promotion to Shenzhen’s top job.

Ma apparently boasts no strong affiliation to any political faction within the party, which could be an advantage under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, according to sources.

Ma managed to weather various political storms and tragedies during his 18 or so months in charge of the hi-tech hub.

Late last year, more than 70 people were killed when tonnes of construction waste collapsed in the city, demolishing 33 buildings and trapping dozens of people in the debris.

On behalf of the city government, Ma expressed condolences to all the victims, and offered apologies to their families.

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He remained unscathed, although he was criticised in July by a task force sent to Shenzhen for on-the-spot investigation after the accident.

In the middle of last year, Ma pledged to turn Shenzhen into a modern, international and innovative city within five years.

He said Shenzhen possessed the unique advantages of being located next to Hong Kong, “radiating inland and facing the world”, a combination that had created a “miracle in the history of the world’s industrialisation, urbanisation and modernisation”.

In another personnel change, Cai Qi, deputy director of the Central National Security Commission, which was created and chaired by Xi, is tipped to replace Wang Anshun as the mayor of ­Beijing. Wang is rumoured to be moving to the State Council’s Development Research Centre, which researches strategic issues.