Two provincial heavyweights are tipped to join the new Politburo to be endorsed at the forthcoming 15th Communist Party Congress. Guangdong Governor Lu Ruihua is expected to be promoted to party secretary of the province, replacing the soon-to-retire Xie Fei, 65. Sources in Beijing said it was probable Mr Lu, a rising star in the party and government hierarchy, would also 'inherit' Mr Xie's Politburo position. A relative newcomer to the political scene, Mr Lu, 59, has impressed the central leadership with his reformist zeal as well as his willingness to toe the Beijing line. For example, the Governor has applied himself well to the policy of 'taking a tight grip on large state-owned enterprises, and letting the small ones go free'. Mr Lu, from the Guangdong city of Chaozhou, is also favoured to replace Mr Xie because of Beijing's commitment to the principle of appointing 'native sons' to top Guangdong positions. Should Mr Lu's political fortunes falter, another Guangdong native, Justice Minister Xiao Yang, 59, is deemed a strong contender for the position of Guangdong party secretary and Politburo member. The other regional 'warlord' tipped for the Politburo is Shanghai Mayor Xu Kuangdi, who is a protege of Executive Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji. Shanghai sources said Mr Xu, 60, who has been given high marks by foreign businessmen, could be inducted into the Politburo in one of two ways. They said he might be promoted to a senior economic post in Beijing, such as head of the State Planning Commission or even Vice-Premier. Otherwise, he could replace Huang Ju as party secretary of Shanghai, a position that has Politburo status. Mr Huang, already a Politburo member, is expected to be transferred to a senior judicial and disciplinary post in the capital. Meanwhile, several veterans are tipped to retire from the Politburo and other government positions due to their age. Foremost among them is Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, 69, who will probably relinquish his government posts in March next year. Mr Qian is expected to be made a vice-chairman of the National People's Congress. Other outgoing Politburo members include Vice-Premier Zou Jiahua and General Yang Baibing.