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Li Qiang, the newly appointed Communist Party Secretary of Shanghai, seen here speaking at the National People's Congress in Beijing on March 7, 2017.   © Reuters
Politics

Xi loyalist picked as Shanghai boss

Suspected power grab sets off wider leadership reshuffle

SHANGHAI -- China's ruling Communist Party on Sunday appointed an ally of President Xi Jinping as the party's top official in Shanghai, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Li Qiang, the 58-year-old outgoing secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Committee, will replace Han Zheng as secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee. With Shanghai as the financial capital of China, Li's installment will reinforce Xi's hold on the national economy.

Back when Xi was the party boss of Zhejiang Province, Li served as the party committee's secretary-general and Xi's right-hand man. The Shanghai faction, currently headed by former president Jiang Zemin, has seen its political clout wane. Xi is seemingly using Li to shore up his control of the city.

Han, 63, was promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee, the Communist Party's top decision-making body, during the twice-a-decade party congress that ended last week. He will likely be named executive vice premier of the State Council next March.

This move also necessitated a wider leadership reshuffle. Lou Qinjian, former head of the Shaanxi Provincial Committee, took Li's place as Jiangsu's boss. Shaanxi Gov. Hu Heping succeeded Lou.

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