Three Communist Party cadres receive promotions crucial to China’s power transitions next year

Three cadres with links to the top leadership are given new roles in a move seen as a prelude to next year’s Communist Party National Congress

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 May, 2016, 7:39pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 May, 2016, 9:18pm

About 18 months away from the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party, three cadres with links to the top leadership ­recently received important promotions, including two being named provincial governors.

The appointments were crucial to next year’s power transition, midway through the present term of President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), and the appointees all stood a good chance of being promoted further during the party congress, said Chen Daoyin, an associate professor at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

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“The year before Xi’s second term [as party general secretary] starts is crucial for cadres’ ­appointments and could be seen as a prelude for next year’s reshuffle,” he said. “The appointments would look too rushed if they were made next year.”

To the surprise of some, Lin Duo, considered a protege of the party’s anticorruption chief Wang Qishan, was appointed governor of Gansu (甘肅) province in April. The appointment of Lin, 60, was unusual as he has never worked in the western province, nor has he been a governor of any province. Lin’s ­appointment, which made him a provincial cadre, effectively postponed his retirement for five years until 2021.

Lin was Wang’s subordinate during his four-year stint in the Beijing city government. Lin again reported to Wang in 2014, when Lin oversaw the provincial anticorruption body of Liaoning (遼寧) province.

Wang has been head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party’s top anticorruption body, since 2012.

The previous governor of Gansu, Liu Weiping, is still two years shy of retirement for his level and was named deputy principal of the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a position with very limited political power.

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Meanwhile, Hu Heping, 54, was also promoted in April as governor of Xi’s home province of Shaanxi (陝西), his third new position in 21/2 years. The appointment makes Hu, with a doctorate of civil engineering from the University of Tokyo, the country’s second youngest provincial ­governor.

Hu’s career in Shaanxi started as late as last April, a year and a half after he entered politics. For more than 10 years, Hu was a Tsinghua University colleague of Chen Xi, who is now the first ranking deputy director of the Communist Party’s powerful organisation department, which oversees cadres’ appointments at vice-ministerial level or above. Chen was Xi’s classmate and roommate at college.

Xi’s former subordinate, Wang Xiaohong, now Beijing’s police chief, was appointed deputy public security minister earlier this month. Wang was Xi’s former subordinate during the president’s entire stint in Fujian (福建) province. Wang, 57, began his career in Fujian, where he remained until August 2013.

During that time, Wang held various positions such as director of the Minhou county public ­security bureau and director of the Fuzhou (福州) public security ­bureau. He later became

the ­police chief of Xiamen (廈門) ­before moving to Henan (河南) province. He was appointed

city police chief of Beijing last March.

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The Ministry of Public Security has seen major personnel movements since Xi came to power. Four of the seven deputy ministers have been appointed since 2012.

“Whoever holds power will trust those with common experience,” Chen said. “The Ministry of Public Security is responsible for political safety and its absolute loyalty must be guaranteed.”

The ministry was once heavily influenced by Zhou Yongkang (周永康), the party’s former security tsar and Xi’s political foe. Zhou was jailed for corruption and abuse of power last year.

The 19th party congress, which will see a major power ­reshuffle at the the top of the party, is scheduled for autumn next year. Five of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the party’s top decision-making body, will reach ­retirement age.