Close ally of Xi Jinping tipped to be new mayor of Beijing

Cai Qi, deputy head of Central National Security Commission, is described as open-minded

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 7:04am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 2:19pm

A close ally of President Xi Jinping is tipped to be the new mayor of Beijing, according to several independent sources.

Cai Qi, the deputy director of the Central National Security Commission (CNSC), which was created and chaired by Xi, would replace current Mayor Wang Anshun, who is rumoured to be moving to the Development Research Centre of the State Council, sources told the Sunday Morning Post.

The appointment of Cai, 61, could be the start of a new round of personnel changes after the Communist Party’s sixth plenum meeting, which wrapped up on Friday, at which Xi was named as the “core of the leadership” ahead of a major reshuffle in the five-yearly congress expected late next year.

Cai, the former deputy governor of Zhejiang province, a power base of Xi, is a “typical” ally for the president, one source said.

Xi Jinping ally Cai Qi to have senior role at National Security Commission

“He will be appointed as Beijing mayor later this year, and possibly become party chief of the capital next year,” another source told the Post.

Guo Jinlong is the current Beijing party chief.

Cai’s political career has notably overlapped Xi’s: before being promoted to deputy director of the CNSC in 2014, Cai spent nearly 15 years in Zhejiang – first as deputy party secretary of Quzhou, then as mayor of the provincial capital, Hangzhou, before becoming provincial deputy governor.

Cai, a native of Youxi county, Fujian province, worked for 11 years in his hometown, which was also a power base for Xi, who worked in Fujian from 1985 before moving to Zhejiang in 2002.

Cai quickly rose up the political ladder in 2014 at the CNSC , an appointment first revealed by the Post although it has yet to be officially confirmed by the commission. Set up in late 2013 to co-ordinate and oversee national security issues, the CNSC was seen as a triumph for Xi in cementing his power as leader after being in office for just one year.

Widely viewed as an open-minded official, Cai could be the most high-profile social media savvy close ally of Xi, compared with other officials who are more cautious of the internet.

Cai regularly made his views known to the public on his Tencent Weibo microblog, where he had 10 million followers before the account was frozen.

New security commission to be led by top three in Communist Party

Dubbed “Uncle Qi” on social media, Cai was hailed in 2013 when a mother in Zhejiang sought his help when he oversaw organisation and personnel in the province. The woman’s 27-year-old son complained that he was forced to drink with his supervisors at work. Cai replied: “Tell me which department your son works in and he won’t need to drink anymore.”

In another new appointment, Jiang Chaoliang, 59, the former governor of Jilin province, was promoted to party chief of Hubei province, Xinhua reported. Jiang was a top aide to Wang Qishan, the party’s top graft-buster.