China Names Two Medical Experts as Provincial Party Chiefs
What’s new: China appointed two medical experts as the top Communist Party leaders in two provinces, showing that the government increasingly values officials with public health expertise as the country continues to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yin Li, 68, currently Sichuan province governor and a health professional with diverse international experience, was named the party leader of the southeastern coastal province of Fujian. Hainan province Governor Shen Xiaoming, a pediatrics expert, was appointed party leader of the nation’s southernmost island province.
Yin, with a Ph.D. in public health administration who was a visiting scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health, held leading positions in the China Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization before entering government.
Yin and Shen are the only two provincial party secretaries with medical Ph.D. degrees. In China, the provincial party secretary ranks above the provincial governor.
The background: In February, China ousted two top party officials in Hubei province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, amid criticism for failing to respond in the early stage of the deadly outbreak.
Hubei provincial party chief Jiang Chaoliang and Wuhan’s party secretary Ma Guoqiang were the two highest-ranking officials removed in relation to the pandemic. Hundreds of other officials were penalized for not properly performing their duties during the outbreak.
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