Cai Mingzhao to head Xinhua news agency as China focuses on party ideology in media

Cai Mingzhao among officials in reshuffle that will see more focus on party ideology in media

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 December, 2014, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 January, 2015, 2:18am

Deputy propaganda chief Cai Mingzhao , who used to head the State Council Information Office, has been appointed the new president of Xinhua.

Cai succeeded the official state news agency's outgoing president Li Congjun, who had reached retirement age, Xinhua said yesterday.

Analysts say the reshuffle is a sign that the Communist Party will focus more on party ideology in the media.

Cai's appointment comes days after Luo Shugang , executive deputy of the propaganda department, was appointed culture minister.

Jiang Jianguo , deputy head of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, is expected to take up Cai's propaganda role.

For months, there had been much speculation about Cai's transfer to Xinhua to hold a position less influential than his propaganda role.

"A news agency publisher's influence can't be compared with that of the head of the State Council Information Office," said Qiao Mu , a professor of media studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Qiao said that by putting propaganda chiefs in party media, Beijing was underscoring the media's role as the party's mouthpiece.

Cai, 59, joined Xinhua as a reporter in 1978, working his way up to deputy publisher in 1998. He became deputy director of the State Council Information Office in 2001 and was later promoted to propaganda deputy chief.

Jiang, 58, became deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication in 2008.

Meanwhile, the Organisation Department said Sun Chunlan , the outgoing party chief of Tianjin , would head the United Front Work Department, whose last head Ling Jihua was removed after he became the subject of a graft probe.

Beijing-based analyst Zhang Lifan said Sun was known for her past friction with disgraced former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai .

"Sun has climbed the career ladder smoothly in a male-dominated party," Zhang said.

Business magazine Caixin also reported that Xinjiang governor Nur Bekri would become deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission and director of the National Energy Administration.

Additional reporting by Mimi Lau