Xinjiang Communist Party chief ‘on his way out’ as Beijing reshuffles top provincial jobs

Sources say top man in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, will replace Zhang Chunxian

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 August, 2016, 12:04am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 October, 2016, 12:49pm

Xinjiang Communist Party chief Zhang Chunxian is tipped to be replaced soon following Beijing’s announcement on Sunday of a reshuffle of party chiefs.

Tibet’s party boss Chen Quanguo, 61, is expected to become Xinjiang’s party boss, while Zhang, 63, will be reassigned to a semi-retired role similar to that of his predecessor in Xinjiang, Wang Lequan, sources said.

In a first round of reshuffles unveiled since a gathering of top incumbent and retired leaders in the resort of Beidaihe, Wu Yingjie, 59, Tibet’s deputy party chief since 2011, has been promoted to the top official in the Himalayan region, Xinhua reported. Notably, Wu has come up through the ranks in Tibet over the past four decades.

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Hunan party chief Xu Shousheng, 63, has been replaced by his deputy and governor, Du ­Jiahao, 61. Vice-minister of industry Xu Dazhe was named as Hunan deputy party chief.

Yunnan governor Chen Hao, 62, was promoted to replace the province’s party chief, Li ­Jiheng, 59.

While Xinhua said Li’s new appointment would be made public later, there is speculation he will take up the top party job in Inner Mongolia, another ethnic-minority region.

Both Chen Hao and Du have extensive experience in Shanghai and analysts believe their promotions are due to President Xi Jinping’s brief stint as Shanghai party boss in 2007.

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Political analysts said the reshuffle showed power-jockeying had gathered pace in the lead-up to the party congress to be held late next year.

Zhang, who was parachuted into Xinjiang after the 2009 riots, has long been rumoured to be replaced due to his inability to curb the rise of ethnic unrest and separatist violence in the region.

Chen Quanguo is believed to be Premier Li Keqiang’s protégé. He worked as Li’s deputy in Henan between 1998 and 2004.