Guangdong's second-ranking official has been removed from his post. The province's executive vice-governor, Ou Guangyuan, whose duties included cross-border issues with Hong Kong, was relieved of his duties on Sunday by the standing committee of the Guangdong People's Congress. According to an announcement carried on the front pages of provincial newspapers yesterday, the move came at the request of Guangdong governor Lu Ruihua. In addition to removing Mr Ou, the standing committee also appointed Guangzhou Communist Party secretary Huang Huahua and Meizhou party secretary Xie Qianghua to vice-governor positions. Provincial government sources said the move would allow Mr Huang to replace Mr Lu, who is widely expected to retire next year. Guangzhou mayor Lin Shusen is expected to replace Mr Huang as municipal party secretary. The abrupt dismissal of Mr Ou, 54, was unexpected as he had seemed to be in favour. At the Guangdong party congress in May, he was promoted to provincial party vice-secretary. The announcement did not say whether Mr Ou would be moving to a new government post. While such dismissals often imply an official is the subject of a corruption investigation, that possibility was belied by Mr Ou's presence yesterday at the opening of Hong Kong's new economic and trade office in Guangzhou, which was also attended by Hong Kong Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung. Mr Ou also has retained his position as party vice-secretary. At the opening ceremony, Mr Ou appeared glum and did not take questions from the press. Officials at Guangdong's news office refused to comment on the dismissal. In addition to Mr Ou, the head of Guangdong's State Land and Resources Department, Jiang Donghai, also was abruptly dismissed from his post. Former Foshan party secretary Lin Haokun was named as his successor.