Li Changchun, the first northerner to run Guangdong in more than a decade, is quickly establishing his authority in the freewheeling province six months after being made provincial party Secretary. Sources said Mr Li, a protege of President Jiang Zemin, had moved to end the influence of predecessor Xie Fei, who was plucked from his powerbase and made a vice-chairman of the National People's Congress in March. Senior officials favoured by Mr Xie were sidelined and investment projects commissioned during Mr Xie's term were facing questions about cost effectiveness. The sources said Mr Li had ordered disciplinary officials to carry out a thorough check of the rank-and-file and end corruption. Mr Li, transferred from Henan province in February, has criticised an ill-fated ethylene project in Guangzhou, saying a similar venture in Henan would only cost half as much. The project, which cost Guangzhou's municipal Government nearly eight billion yuan (HK$7.44 billion) to build, is suffering huge losses due to its heavy debt exposure. Sources said the Government was paying nearly two million yuan interest every day on loans. Mr Li has also ordered an end to the rapid expansion of Guangdong's media and moved to tighten control over the province's publications. All newspapers are now required to give prominent coverage to his speeches and censors were told to crack down on Hong Kong and Taiwan 'media influences'. Provincial propaganda chief Yu Youjun, once considered a rising star, has fallen out of favour with Mr Li. Sources said provincial party secretary-general Cai Dongshi was tipped to take over from Mr Yu, who was said to have been selected for a senior posting in Zhuhai. Governor Lu Ruihua has kept a low profile. Mr Li has made all main policy decisions since taking over the helm. Only provincial police chief Chen Shaoji has successfully survived the transition. Mr Chen, a Guangdong native, has been credited for cracking large cases, including the arrest of 'Big Spender' Cheung Tse-keung and his gang. Sources noted that Executive Vice-Governor Wang Qishan, the former banker transferred to Guangdong from Beijing late last year, had apparently failed to establish a rapport with the party boss. They said Mr Wang had not been given the additional title of vice-party secretary and had seldom spoke out on major issues since arriving.