China has appointed Xu Lin , former top internet regulator and protégé of President Xi Jinping, as Communist Party chief of Guizhou province , a big data hub in the southwest of the country. Xu’s appointment, announced Friday by state news agency Xinhua, is part of a personnel reshuffle following the party’s 20th national congress in October. Changes to key party and state jobs are expected to continue until China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress , holds its annual meeting in March. Xu, 59, has been head of the National Radio and Television Administration, which oversees state broadcasting in China, since June. From 2016 to 2018, he was director of the country’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China. In 2018, he was appointed director of the State Council Information Office, which handles the release of important official information and national policies, especially to the foreign media . Chinese state broadcasting gets a new chief: Xi protégé Xu Lin Xu began his political career in Shanghai, where he was born and raised. He became a member of the standing committee of the municipal party committee – his first position at a deputy ministerial level – in 2007, two months after Xi was appointed party secretary of Shanghai . He later became party chief of Pudong New District, Shanghai’s finance hub, and the city’s propaganda chief. During his nine years in various propaganda chief roles, Xu has been a firm advocate and enforcer of Xi’s vision on media and the internet. Xu gave a speech at a media forum in 2020 as head of the Information Office, saying China must “resolutely guard against digitalisation diluting the party’s leadership, resolutely prevent the risk of capital manipulating public opinion”. Guizhou, long considered a backwater province, has been touting its big data potential since 2014, when the central government highlighted the industry as a priority to encourage innovation and upgrade China’s economic structure. The provincial governor at that time, Chen Miner , had focused on poverty alleviation and environmental protection and was dedicated to promoting big data, e-commerce and innovation. Xi sends message on growth through innovation, big data in Guizhou The province has since been hailed as the top hub for China’s big data industry . In 2016, Beijing gave its approval for Guizhou to build the country’s first national big data comprehensive pilot zone. Several heavyweight players, including Apple and Huawei, have established cloud computing facilities, big data centres and regional headquarters in the province. China’s former propaganda chief gets top Guangdong job in key reshuffle Xu is replacing Shen Yiqin as party chief of Guizhou. The Xinhua report said Shen would assume a new position but did not specify which role. Shen, 63, is a member of the Bai ethnic minority group and has spent her entire political career in Guizhou, working her way up from the rank and file to leading roles in the party and government – especially in propaganda, security and the party school. She was the third woman to serve as a provincial-level party secretary since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.