Communist Party propaganda supremo Li Changchun visited the Guangdong delegation to the party's 18th national congress on Tuesday, telling them the province's recent development had made him proud, Guangdong media reported yesterday.
Li was Guangdong's party secretary from 1998 to 2002 before becoming a member of the Politburo Standing Committee. Such visits by former leaders are seen as signs of central government support for a local leader.
However, it now appears unlikely that Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang will become a member of the Politburo Standing Committee after the party congress, which starts today, and many observers predict he will be given another major domestic post.
A close ally of party general secretary Hu Jintao and known for his reformist bent, Wang, 57, was previously seen as a strong contender for elevation to the Politburo Standing Committee. But his relative youth has dimmed his chances and he may have to wait until the next top leadership reshuffle in five years.
The Nanfang Daily, Guangdong's provincial party mouthpiece, said Li greeted the 69 Guangdong delegates in Cantonese on Tuesday. He also praised the province's recent economic and social development, saying it "made him very proud".
Li urged the province to strengthen innovation and make full use of the advantages offered by its open door. He said innovation would be a critical part of its economic transformation and could be strategically important in the nation's quest for sustainable development.
Meanwhile, residents of the Asian Games media village in Guangzhou, where apartments were sold off after the games, protested about their poorly built, two-year-old homes on Tuesday.
A man was photographed hanging a huge banner on his balcony which read "Uncorrupt Communist Party; Happy Guangdong" and featured a large photo of him being dragged on the ground by Guangzhou police last year while petitioning for compensation.
"Happy Guangdong" is Wang's key slogan for his efforts to reshape the province's economic base.