Beijing has replaced Tibet's party boss with the governor of Hebei province in a new round of rotations among provincial leaders in the run-up to the Communist Party's 18th National Congress in autumn next year.
Xinhua quoted a party central committee statement that said Chen Quanguo, 56, had succeeded Zhang Qingli, 60, as party secretary of Tibet .
Zhang 'will be moved to another position', said the statement.
That could either mean promotion or merely a transfer to another provincial-level post.
During Zhang's term from late 2005, dozens of buildings were torched and at least 18 civilians killed in riots in the heart of the regional capital of Lhasa in March 2008. The protests erupted after the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising of 1959.
The perpetrators were reportedly Tibetans angry with Communist Party rule. Zhang went on to label the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, as a 'wolf in monk's robes'.
Zhang Qingli has been tipped to succeed either Zhang Yunchuan as party secretary of Hebei, or Du Qinglin as director of the party's United Front Work Department.
Chen was the senior official overseeing party personnel in Henan province for more than a decade before taking the governor's job in neighbouring Hebei in late 2009.
Some critics online have questioned his accomplishments in Hebei, given his brief stint there. Although he keeps a relatively low profile, Chen visited Hebei University of Technology for lunch with students in the school canteen, according to a Beijing News report in May. The Hebei-based Yanzhao Metropolis Daily reported on Wednesday that Zhang Qingwei, 50, was named the deputy party boss of Hebei, a move possibly paving the way for him to be the province's governor in the near future.
Yunnan governor Qin Guangrong, 61, was promoted as the party head of the southwestern province. His predecessor, Bai Enpei, had retired at 65, the standard age for provincial or ministerial-level officials.
The vacancy left by Qin would be filled by Li Jiheng, 54, who has held the office of deputy provincial party secretary of Yunnan for two years. Before that, he served in the neighbouring region of Guangxi for more than a quarter of a century.
Luo Baoming, the 59-year-old governor of Hainan , will replace outgoing Wei Liucheng, 65, and be elevated to party boss of the island province.
The report did not say who would succeed Luo.
Having been working as either staff or head of the Tianjin Municipal Committee of the Communist Youth League for over 10 years before 1992, Luo is generally regarded as a middle-ranking member of the league, the political power base of President Hu Jintao .
Unlike Luo, Qin, another rising political star, boasts little factional background.
The party's decision-making Politburo is due to be restructured after the party's 18th National Congress.