Guangdong's top law enforcement official is no longer a member of the Communist Party's provincial standing committee, leading to speculation that he could soon retire as secretary of its provincial political and legislative affairs committee.
Liang Weifa, pictured, was one of three members of the party standing committee not reappointed, along with former Guangzhou party chief Zhang Guangning and Guangdong executive vice-governor Xiao Zhiheng, when the members of the 13-person committee were announced on Sunday after the closing of the province's party congress.
Just like those who oversee the party's propaganda, discipline and organisation, as head of the party's political and legislative affairs committee, Liang would normally be a member of the party's powerful provincial standing committee.
However, Liang, who is also the affluent province's police chief, was born in 1952 and has reached the retirement age of 60 for ministerial-level officials.
Of the three newly 'elected' members of the Guangdong standing committee, Zhuhai party secretary Li Jia , is generally considered the front runner to succeed Liang as the province's law enforcement chief.
Li, 48, is a rising political star and the youngest member of Guangdong's top decision-making body.
Another new member of the standing committee, 53-year-old Tuo Zhen , a former deputy head of Xinhua News Agency, is likely to succeed Lin Xiong , 53, as provincial propaganda chief, with Lin tipped to become the provincial director of the united front work department or executive vice-governor.
Zhou Zhenhong , the former united front work chief, is under investigation for serious violations of discipline, a common euphemism for corruption on the mainland.
Lin, a former secretary to Premier Wen Jiabao , was reportedly a contender for the post of Shenzhen mayor following the downfall of Xu Zongheng in early 2009.