More reshuffles in Shanghai's inner circle of power are to be announced soon as Beijing pushes forward in its methodical campaign to clean house in the country's corruption-smeared financial hub, sources said.
Morale among senior cadres and party officials in the city was at 'low ebb', a source close to the situation said, because they feared Shanghai was losing its long-enjoyed privilege as a largely self-governed kingdom, with enormous freedom in appointing its senior staff, when Jiang Zemin was national president.
'Shanghai is being 'normalised',' the source said. 'It's being rendered equal with the rest of the country.'
Yang Dinghua, one of the city's eight vice-mayors and previously secretary of Mayor Han Zheng, was leaving his post and was expected to retain a toothless position on the city's political advisory body, sources said.
Another vice-mayor, Zhou Taitong , is also to be relegated to the political advisory body.
The reshuffle also involves preparations for the 2010 World Expo. Zhang Xuebing and Zhong Yanqun , both vice-directors on the Expo's executive committee, were to be replaced by Beijing-sponsored candidates soon, sources said.
These changes are in tune with the mayoral-level reshuffle announced on Thursday that saw a top securities regulator and a Baosteel Group general manager become vice-mayors.
The appointment of Tu Guangshao , a deputy chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, is being viewed as another measure to dilute the influence of the so-called 'Shanghai clique' that thrived under Mr Jiang.
Both Ms Yang and Ms Zhong were close associates of Mr Han, whose political career was likely to take him out of Shanghai about 15 months after the toppling of the city's top official, Chen Liangyu , in September last year over a massive pension-fund scandal, sources said.
Yang Xiaodu , currently in charge of the municipal Communist Party's liaison with non-party organisations, was a likely candidate to succeed Mr Han, sources said.
Beijing has taken a thorough and steady approach to cleansing the city's top bureaucratic apparatus in the wake of the Chen debacle, analysts say.
The first step was the appointment of a new anti-graft chief, with the post given to an outsider, Shen Deyong , a vice-president of the Supreme People's Court. It was the first time in years that Beijing had parachuted a senior official into Shanghai.
Shanghai did not see a new party chief installed until March, but that appointment only lasted six months. In October, Yu Zhengsheng , former party boss of the central province of Hubei , took the city's top job, replacing Xi Jinping , who was catapulted to the top echelon of power, the Politburo Standing Committee, during the party's 17th National Congress.
This month, the replacements for the city's two highest judicial officials were decided upon.
Tipped as the new head of the Shanghai High People's Court is Ying Yong , the head of the highest court in neighbouring Zhejiang province .
If approved, Mr Ying would be the first outsider to hold the position in more than two decades.
Officials who have climbed the ladder in Shanghai are being moved elsewhere.
This month saw a former Shanghai city government deputy secretary general, Xiong Jianping , sent to Tianjin as a vice-mayor and Du Jiahao , a former member of the municipal party standing committee, sent to Heilongjiang province as vice-governor.
Previously, Jiang Sixian , the city's former personnel chief, was sent to Hainan province as vice-governor.