Choice of Wang Min as governor could mark the start of an anticipated leadership reshuffle in rust belt Jilin province, long considered the backwater of the northeast rust belt, has been caught up in a top-level personnel reshuffle, bringing in a relatively young bureaucrat from the affluent city of Suzhou in Jiangsu province to be its next governor. Wang Min, 54, has been named the candidate to replace the retired Hong Hu , 64, as provincial governor, China News Service reported yesterday. Mr Wang's appointment is expected to be confirmed when the provincial People's Congress meets early next year. The reshuffle could mark the start of a long-awaited top-level leadership reshuffle in the three northeastern provinces, which also include Liaoning and Heilongjiang . The central government has made the economic revitalisation of the rust-belt provinces as one of its top priorities. The provinces have been plagued with high unemployment and widespread official corruption. Mr Wang is expected to bring his experience of managing a booming city of hi-tech industrial parks and many foreign joint ventures to revitalise Jilin, whose economy relies on farming and state-owned industrial plants. It is a basket case of high urban unemployment and struggling farms unable to compete with cheap imported corn. Mr Hong served as governor of Jilin for six years. There had long been speculation that he would depart because he was nearing the mandatory retirement age of 65. The son of a former People's Liberation Army general, he was seen as one of the few clean and straight-talking provincial leaders in the northeast. In February, he made headlines on the mainland by publicly taking personal responsibility for a shopping centre fire that killed 53 people and injured 70 in Jilin. 'As the first person responsible for production safety [in Jilin], it's my dereliction of duty. I didn't do the work well. It was a painful and profound lesson,' he said at the time. Previously, senior government officials rarely admitted any fault, let alone issued a public apology. Rumours of high-level personnel changes have grown louder in the northeast since early last month when the central government took the unusual step of sacking five top officials in Heilongjiang. They were involved in a major scandal in which officials solicited huge bribes from other civil servants seeking promotions and official appointments. However, some analysts noted that Mr Wang's transfer to Jilin came after the central government widened a crackdown on corruption and graft in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Official media reported yesterday that Suzhou Vice-Mayor Jiang Renjie had been detained for corruption. Mr Jiang was in charge of lucrative infrastructure projects in the city, where Mr Wang had been the party boss since 2002.