Shenzhen Communist Party chief Liu Yupu was named chairman of the Shenzhen People's Congress Standing Committee at the close of the congress' annual session yesterday, reflecting similar appointments across the country. Mr Liu's appointment follows a growing trend of provincial and municipal party chiefs also heading congressional standing committees during their administrative tenures. Apart from Mr Liu, 24 party heads of 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have been appointed to lead top legislative bodies by February. Shenzhen University law professor Zou Xueping said the central government had encouraged such doubling up on appointments since the 1990s with the aim of bolstering the authority of the congresses. 'In the past, the post of chairman of people's congress standing committees at all levels usually went to those officials about to retire,' Professor Zou said. He said party bosses would be better at representing the authority of the people's congresses and supervising administrators than retired officials. 'People's congresses need strong and powerful leaders to run the key functions of supervision, and ensuring that laws and regulations are implemented,' he said. But Professor Zou admitted there may be a downside to such double appointments. 'There are old worries here - rule by man or rule by law? It would not be good for the operation of a people's congress if the party boss is not open and democratic enough.' He said the double appointment system reflected the good intentions of the central government, but still needed time to have an effect. 'A mechanism under the rule of law would be more important and helpful.'