12 December 2018
Bu Xiaolin has become the governor of Inner Mongolia among a slew of key personnel changes this year. Photo:
Bu Xiaolin has become the governor of Inner Mongolia among a slew of key personnel changes this year. Photo:

Govt reshuffle in autonomous regions in full swing

As the Communist Party of China (CPC) prepares for its 19th national congress next year, the leaders in the country’s five ethnic minority autonomous regions have been undergoing a massive reshuffle this year.

The Inner Mongolia autonomous region could be the hardest hit as its party secretary, its governor and half of the members of its party committee have been replaced since June.

Almost all of the new faces, mostly in their fifties, come from other provinces, suggesting that Beijing could be working aggressively to root out indigenous political vested interests in Inner Mongolia.

On the other hand, Tibet, another major ethnic minority autonomous region, has witnessed a drastic leadership change this year.

In August, the region’s party secretary and the secretary general of the party committee stepped down and were replaced by younger partymates from other provinces.

Last year, the Guangxi autonomous region saw a massive government overhaul, with a record-breaking 11 new key personnel appointments having been made within four months. Changes this year have been moderate.

Another autonomous region, Ningxia, has seen the replacement of its government chief and deputy chief by appointees from other provinces.

Among all the new office-holders, Liu Qifan, the new party secretary of the Regional Commission for Discipline Inspection of Inner Mongolia, has received a lot of public attention.

At age 49, considered very young by the CPC standards, Liu is a former deputy chief in Guizhou province under Li Zhanshu and Chen Miner, the two rising stars of the CPC.

Given his unique background and connections, Liu’s recent appointment to Inner Mongolia has aroused widespread speculation that he could be on a mission to carry out Beijing’s secret agenda in the autonomous region.

Inner Mongolia is often considered “ground zero” of provincial government corruption in the mainland.

Since 2012, 23 key officials from the region have been removed from office on graft charges.

As the power struggle and competition for key party positions continue to intensify, more new key personnel appointments at the provincial level are in the pipeline.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 18

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal contributor

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