Xi Jinping confidant Chen Miner appointed party boss of key Chinese city

Rising political star now seen as a strong contender to join the Communist Party’s higher ranks during autumn reshuffle

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 July, 2017, 1:12pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 July, 2017, 3:13pm

China has appointed Chen Miner, a rising political star, as the Communist Party boss in southwestern Chongqing, cementing his credentials as a contender to join the upper echelon of the party at its five-yearly congress this autumn.

The possible elevation of Chen, a trusted confidant of President Xi Jinping, will be a sign of Xi flexing his political muscle during the leadership reshuffle.

Chen will take over the Chongqing role from Sun Zhengcai, Xinhua reported.

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Xinhua’s report did not mention what Sun’s next move would be.

Chongqing, as one of China’s four key cities, is usually run by a Communist Party secretary from the 25-member Politburo.

Chen is one of only three provincial party chiefs born in the 1960s – along with Guangdong’s Hu Chunhua and Chongqing’s Sun – and the only one of those not already a Politburo member. He is currently one of the 205 members of the Central Committee.

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Chen previously worked under Xi as his propaganda chief in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, when Xi was provincial party leader. He has since ridden on the coat-tails of his former boss, and has risen rapidly through the party ranks.

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In 2012, Chen was made deputy party secretary of Guizhou province. Less than a year later, and within roughly a month of Xi becoming president, he was promoted to governor, before moving up once more to his current role as Guizhou party boss in 2015.

Sun Zhigang, the incumbent Guizhou governor, will succeed Chen as provincial party chief, Xinhua said.

Additional reporting by Reuters.