Beijing has named a legal scholar with rich regional governance experience as the new party chief of the resource-rich Inner Mongolia autonomous region, state media reported on Friday. Shi Taifeng, formerly party chief of Ningxia Hui autonomous region, will replace Li Jiheng, according to the official state news agency Xinhua. The report said Li would be given another job, but did not provide further details. The vacancy in Ningxia will be filled by Chen Runer, formerly the governor of the central province of Henan, according to Xinhua. The reshuffle was announced ahead of next week’s gathering of the party elite in Beijing for the fourth plenum of the Central Committee. Starting on Monday, more than 300 full and alternate members of the powerful Central Committee will gather behind closed doors for four days to discuss how to improve the country’s socialist system and governance. A noted scholar, Shi taught law at the Central Party School for 20 years, where his jobs included head of the law department and vice-president of the school in charge of legal studies. He was appointed as head of the organisation department of the Communist Party in Jiangsu in 2010, and he later became the governor of the eastern province. Shi was a classmate of Premier Li Keqiang when they both studied law at Peking University. The 63-year-old Shanxi native also spent a year at the law school of the University of Amsterdam in 1991, joining the growing number of cadres who have studied overseas. Shi, an alternate member of the Central Committee, also served as party secretary in the eastern city of Suzhou before taking up the post in Ningxia. His successor Chen studied agriculture at Hunan Agricultural University and then spent almost 20 years in grass-roots party roles in the province. In 2000 he was appointed mayor of the city of Xiangtan and six years later became party chief in the provincial capital of Changsha. In 2013 he was transferred to the northeastern province of Heilongjiang as deputy party secretary, then three years later returned to Hunan as governor. Last year he became a full member of the Central Committee.