Xi Jinping Appoints New Provincial Chiefs

Less than a week after he took over as the new leader of the ruling Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping began carrying out reshuffle of provincial Party officials, including the Chongqing city headed by disgraced party leader Bo Xilai and country's biggest city Shanghai.

Xi began the reshuffle with the appointment of former Agricultural Minister Sun Zhengcai, 49 as the new Party Chief of 33 million people strong Chongqing, which acquired notoriety after Bo's disgraceful exit.

Sun, who has no princeling tag and worked in rural areas, would replace outgoing chief Zhang Dejiang recently promoted to the seven member Politburo Standing Committee headed by Xi, which rules the country.

Sun, a more down to earth activist, was expected to carry out people friendly policies in the city still enamoured by Bo, who despite his despotic style of functioning modernised the city by systematically cracking down on the local mafias.

Bo also cultivated the image of a pro-poor leader playing up on Mao Zedong's legacy.

In Chinese politics, provincial Chief of the Party wielded enormous amount of power in their respective places as they functioned as political and administrative heads of the area.

Xi also appointed Han Zheng as Chief of Shanghai, which he headed before becoming Vice President.

Han replaces Yu Zhengsheng, who was appointed to the Standing Committee of the Politburo. Born in 1954, Han is currently also mayor of Shanghai.

The new appointments followed as Xi consolidated his hold over the Party after taking over as General Secretary and Military Chief from outgoing leader Hu Jintao.

Xi will formally take over as President in March next year when Hu completely retires along with Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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