Liao Guoxun, mayor of the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin, has died after a sudden illness, according to the municipality’s Communist Party newspaper. He was 59. Tianjin Daily said on its WeChat account on Thursday that Liao, who was also the city’s deputy party chief, had died a day earlier, without elaborating on the cause of death. He was last seen in public on Monday, along with Tianjin party chief Li Hongzhong and other officials at a meeting about curbing pollution. According to video clips of the event broadcast on Tianjin TV , Liao appeared to be in good health. His comments from the meeting were published a day later by Tianjin Daily. “[We] must resolutely implement Xi Jinping’s thoughts on ecological civilisation … and fight the battle for blue sky, clean water and earth with greater determination, strong strength and higher standards,” he said. On Sunday morning, Liao chaired a municipal government meeting which reviewed a plan to promote employment. Liao was born in the southwestern province of Sichuan but spent most of his life in neighbouring Guizhou, where he became a middle-school teacher after graduating from a university in its provincial capital Guiyang. He began his political career in 1986, working in the party committee’s organisation department in Kaili, a county-level city in Guizhou, before moving to the provincial party committee’s organisation department in 1993. In 2007, Liao became deputy party chief of the city of Tongren and was promoted to the city’s party chief a decade later. His career accelerated in 2012 when he was named a member of the standing committee and secretary general of the Guizhou provincial party committee. Come to Tianjin: the housing glut can build you a better future Liao was transferred to the eastern province of Zhejiang as head of the provincial organisation department in 2015. He became a member of the standing committee of the Shanghai municipal party committee a year later. In 2020, he was appointed as deputy party chief and mayor of Tianjin, which is among China’s five largest urban areas by population. Liao was an associate of Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People’s Congress, who worked in Guizhou in 2012. While in Zhejiang, he also worked with Xia Baolong, who now oversees Hong Kong affairs.