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Zhang Gong takes over as mayor of Tianjin. Photo: Weibo

Head of China’s market regulator takes over as acting mayor of Tianjin

  • Zhang Gong takes over in the northern port city following the sudden death of his predecessor in late April
  • The appointment forms part of the latest overhaul of provincial officials in the run-up to a major leadership reshuffle later this year
Zhang Gong, China’s top market regulator, has been named as acting mayor of Tianjin following the sudden death of his predecessor.

Zhang, 60, who has headed the State Administration for Market Regulation since July 2020, was named as deputy Communist Party chief of the northern port city on Saturday before the city’s legislature confirmed him in the role of acting mayor on Tuesday.

The appointment followed the sudden death of the previous mayor Liao Guoxun who died late in April aged 59. A government statement said he had died after a sudden illness but did not provide further details.

Tianjin is one of four cities in the country to have municipality status, making them more important politically than the others.

The city’s party chief, Li Hongzhong, sits on the 25-member Politburo, the party’s decision-making body.

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In his previous role, Zhang oversaw a long list of market, antitrust, food security and product quality regulations.

Zhang trained as an electrical appliance engineer and spent the first 20 years of his career working for state-owned manufacturers. He was a vice-mayor of Beijing between 2012 to 2018, when he was also made a vice-chairman of the semi-official All-China Federation of Trade Unions.

Zhang’s appointment came amid the latest reshuffle of mid-level officials in the build-up to the party’s national congress later this year.

During that twice-a-decade political gathering, the party will unveil a new leadership team in the country’s most powerful political bodies, including the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee.


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In recent years, cadres with engineering backgrounds have become more popular picks for regional leadership roles despite their somewhat limited experience in local politics.

In Sichuan, Luo Wen was named deputy party chief, the province’s No 3 role, during the provincial party conclave on Monday. Luo, 57, has worked in the manufacturing and information technology sector for more than 20 years.

He was previously a vice-minister at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and a deputy head of the National Reform and Development Commission. He was named a vice-governor of Sichuan in 2020.

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In Shaanxi, vice-governor Zhao Gang was named as deputy party chief on Monday.

Zhao, 54, also trained as an engineer and worked in state-owned industries for decades, including a spell representing China North Industries Corporation in Iran before becoming chief of China First Heavy Industries, a machinery maker.

He only entered local politics in 2018, when he became vice-governor of Shaanxi.