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Wang Qishan, right, pats Xi Jinping on the back to get his attention as the two leave the rostrum of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)
Politics

Ex-graft czar Wang may become China's next vice president

Xi to reward retired right-hand man, Hong Kong newspaper says

HONG KONG -- Wang Qishan, the Chinese anti-corruption chief who left the Communist Party's ruling body at this month's party congress, will likely be appointed vice president next year at President Xi Jinping's request, Hong Kong's Sing Tao Daily newspaper reported Monday.

The position would let Wang, who effectively served as Xi's right-hand man as the party's discipline chief, continue playing a key political role in government in such areas as foreign affairs and national security.

Wang, who retired from the Politburo Standing Committee last week, may re-emerge at a rank immediately below that seven-member group, the party's top decision-making body, the newspaper reported.

The appointment is expected to take place next March at a meeting of the National People's Congress, China's parliament, according to the daily.

Vice presidents are not required to be sitting Politburo members. Precedents include Wang Zhen, a party elder and former military man, and Rong Yiren, the wealthy businessman who founded state-owned investment group Citic.

The anti-corruption campaign led by Wang Qishan ensnared prominent political rivals of Xi, such as Zhou Yongkang, a former member of the ruling Politburo Standing Committee. Xi had hoped to keep Wang on the Standing Committee past the customary retirement age of 68, but opposition within the party forced the 69-year-old anti-graft chief to step down.

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