China’s spy chief set to step down to take on senior role on Hong Kong and Taiwan affairs advisory panel

Geng Huichang, who has reached retirement age of 65, has been head of the state security ministry since 2007

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 12:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2016, 8:40pm

China’s security chief Geng Huichang will likely step down soon from his position after being appointed to a senior role on an advisory panel for Hong Kong and Taiwan affairs.

Geng, the minister of state security, was on Tuesday named deputy director of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee’s panel on Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Overseas Chinese affairs, Xinhua reported.

The CPPCC is China’s top political advisory body.

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The advisory role for Geng, who has reached the retirement age of 65, was announced alongside new appointments for two other senior officials.

Cai Fuchao, former head of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, was named deputy director of the CPPCC committee for education, science, culture and health, and Liu Peng, former director of State General Administration of Sports, was named deputy director of the CPPCC foreign affairs committee.

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Cai and Liu officially retired in recent weeks, according to Chinese media reports. Geng’s retirement has yet to be made official.

Geng’s new role is expected to pave the way for Chen Wenqing, the Ministry of State Security’s Communist Party committee head, to eventually take up the job as minister.

The ministry is among China’s most opaque government agencies. It has no official website.

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Geng became spy chief in 2007 and also doubled as the ministry’s party head. He handed over the party role to Chen – a former police chief and disciplinary official – last year.

The Hebei native, who was born in 1951, previously served as deputy director of the China International Cultural Exchange Centre and vice-minister of state security.