Former close subordinate of Xi Jinping expected to become Shanghai mayor

Rising star Ying Yong to step up from deputy role to replace Yang Xiong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 6:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 January, 2017, 6:27pm

Ying Yong, a former close subordinate of President Xi Jinping, is expected to be appointed mayor of Shanghai, replacing Yang Xiong at the helm of the mainland’s commercial hub.

Ying, 59, worked under Xi during his tenure as Zhejiang Communist Party chief from 2003 to 2007, and becomes the latest trusted subordinate of the president to take a leading position in a key provincial-level region.

According to two local government sources who were briefed on the personnel change, the elevation of Ying was decided by the mainland leadership earlier this year and is expected to be announced soon. Ying currently serves as vice-mayor.

Between 2003 and 2007, Ying assumed a series of senior party and government roles in Zhejiang, including deputy secretary of the party’s commission for discipline inspection, chief of the supervision bureau and head of the higher court.

He was appointed chief of the Shanghai Higher People’s Court in 2008 before assuming a role in the party’s organisation department five years later.

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In 2014, Ying was promoted to deputy party secretary of Shanghai.

“The appointment of Ying as Shanghai mayor wasn’t a surprise since he was groomed to take an important job in the city,” said a Shanghai government source who requested anonymity.

Ying was named an executive vice-mayor of Shanghai in September, a move seen as paving the way for him to replace Yang, the sources said.

He will become the second-highest ranking official in Shanghai, behind Party Secretary Han Zheng who is a member of the central committee’s Politburo.

Yang became Shanghai mayor in February 2013. During his mayoralty, he led the city to build the mainland’s first free-trade zone and oversaw the construction of the Shanghai Disneyland.

His appointment as mayor was seen as a departure from Communist Party norms as Yang failed to gain a seat on the Party’s central committee and was not a member of the city’s party standing committee, although he is now.