Xi Jinping promotes two allies, including one to head office set up in 1999 to crack down on Falun Gong

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 September, 2015, 4:47am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 September, 2015, 8:42am

Two more allies of President Xi Jinping have been promoted to key posts in recent days.

Fu Zhenghua, 60, a deputy public security minister, has been given an additional post in charge of the Central 610 Office, responsible for social stability and cult control, the Xinjiang Daily reported yesterday.

It's the second important promotion for Fu since this year. In March, Fu, a native of Hebei province who was named director of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau in 2010, was promoted from fifth- to third-in-command at the national ministry.

On Friday another Xi ally, Zhao Yide, 50, secretary-general of the Zhejiang provincial committee of the Communist Party, was named mayor of Hangzhou , the provincial capital. Zhao had served under Xi in Zhejiang for years when Xi was in charge of the province early last decade.

The central authorities, however, have kept relatively quiet about Fu's new post. Few government-run media released the official announcement until the Xinjiang Daily reported on Saturday that China's top political adviser, Yu Zhengsheng , led a government delegation including Fu to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The report named Fu as deputy public security minister and chief of the Central 610 Office.

The 610 Office is a central-authority level security agency associated with the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the Communist Party that tackles illegal cults. It gets its name from the date of its creation - June 10, 1999 - when it was set up to crack down on the Falun Gong sect.

Fu earlier made a name for himself by leading the controversial crackdown on influential internet commentators, an important plank in Xi's plan to "seize the ground of new media" in 2013.

In October that year, Xi placed Fu, who was Beijing's police chief at the time, in charge of a special unit investigating the scandal surrounding retired leader Zhou Yongkang . Fu reported directly to Xi in his capacities as head of the Beijing armed police, a Standing Committee member of the party's Beijing municipal committee and deputy minister of public security.

Since 2013, Xi has promoted his allies in a major reshuffle of the party, government and military. In March, Deng Weiping, 59, who headed the party's anti-graft watchdog in Guangxi , was promoted to anti-graft chief of the Public Security Bureau. Deng was deputy secretary of the Fuzhou Gulou District party committee when Xi was party secretary for Fuzhou , the capital of Fujian province .

Just days ago, Wang Xiaohong, the public security chief for Henan province, was promoted to police chief of Beijing after Fu left his post. Wang was Xi's subordinate during the years he served in Fujian.