03/26/2007, 00.00
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Communist Party “princelings” to be new leaders in Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang

China’s big cities get new party leaders. Choice falls on officials with years of loyal service, Hu loyalists and children of party elders. Before the year is out another 17 posts are to be filled.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – China’s Communist Party has announced the name of new party leaders in Shanghai, Tianjin and Zhejiang. Most of them are party “princelings.”

All eyes were on Shanghai where disgraced party boss Chen Liangyu was booted out for embezzling large sums of money from the City’s pension fund. For many analysts his downfall was part of a wider settlement of accounts by Hu Jintao against his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, whose power base was in Shanghai.

Former Zhejiang party chief Xi Jinping was appointed as party secretary in Shanghai. He is known as a Hu loyalist.

“I will do my best to do more good things for Shanghai people,” Mr Xi said after his promotion was officially announced.

Until recently Liu Yandong, head of the party's United Front Work Department, was expected to get the job, but Xi’s name did not cause any ripples.

Like many new high-profile party officials, Xi is a princeling—a child of a Communist Party elder, raised within the party and loyal to President Hu who is grooming other princelings to shield himself from attacks from within the party.

With Xi going to Shanghai other posts are being filled. The Party’s Central Committee has officially approved the appointment of Zhang Gaoli as party secretary of the coastal city of Tianjin. Until now he was party secretary in agricultural powerhouse Shandong province.

His move to Tianjin is seen as a pledge from the central government to provide more support for the regional hub to develop its economy.

Last but not least, Zhao Hongzhu replaces Xi as party secretary in Zhejiang. He, too, has had a long career in the Communist Party.

The current reshuffle is not over yet. Before the year is out, 17 provinces should have new secretaries.


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