Caixin
Apr 16, 2020 09:05 PM
POLITICS & LAW

More 40-Something Officials Appointed to Key Regional Positions

Yang Zhiwen, vice governor of Qinghai province.
Yang Zhiwen, vice governor of Qinghai province.

An increasing number of relatively young Chinese officials are stepping into key regional positions as the country mulls new dates for its top annual political meetings, postponed due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

As of April 15, eight “post-70s” officials — those born in the 1970s who make up the youngest generation of the current Communist Party leadership — have won promotion this year to deputy governor or equivalent positions at either provincial or ministerial levels, bring their total number to 28.

The appointments, which are in line with the party’s push to bring younger cadres into leadership positions, come as Beijing looks to rearrange its so-called “Two Sessions,” originally scheduled to take place in March but delayed due to the country’s Covid-19 epidemic.

The latest such promotion fell to Yang Zhiwen, who has been appointed a deputy governor of Northwest China’s Qinghai province, according to a Thursday announcement (link in Chinese) by the regional legislature.

Yang was born in 1970 and held roles in the main ethnic affairs and political-influence organizations of northwestern China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

Another addition is Ah Dong, born in 1970 and a former mayor of Sanya in southern China’s Hainan province, who has been appointed deputy governor of Jilin province in the country’s northeast, the province’s legislature announced (link in Chinese) on Wednesday.

Other post-70s officials to win promotion this year include Wu Hao, deputy governor of Jiangxi province; Zhou Hongbo, deputy chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region; Lai Jiao, deputy chairman of Ningxia; Liu Xiaotao, deputy governor of Zhejiang province; Ren Wei, deputy chairman of the Tibet autonomous region; and Li Yi, deputy governor of Heilongjiang province.

Nis Grünberg, a research analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin, told Caixin Global in an email that the post-70s cohort “are probably more flexible and utilitarian, more exposed to foreign ideas — which does not necessarily translate into being friendlier toward them — and less bound by shared trauma.”

“They are more deeply shaped by the experience of, and belief in, progress and modernity, as well as the growing national pride of the ’80s and ’90s,” he said.

Political reshuffles are common in the run-up to the Two Sessions, the annual meetings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the National People’s Congress.

One of the highest-profile movers is the new ecology and environment secretary, 58-year-old Sun Jinlong. He takes over (link in Chinese) from Li Ganjie, 55, who on Tuesday gave (link in Chinese) his first official speech as deputy Communist Party secretary of eastern China’s Shandong province, according to a provincial television network.

Also on Tuesday, Zhang Guohua, 55, was confirmed (link in Chinese) as a member of the party committee of the southwestern province of Yunnan.

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com)

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