China completes provincial-level leadership reshuffle with focus on age, academic competence-Sino-US


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China completes provincial-level leadership reshuffle with focus on age, academic competence

Photo: Xinhua

After the appointment of two acting governors for the provinces of Jiangxi and Qinghai earlier this week, China has completed the reshuffle of top government officials for 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. These leaders have something in common: low age and enviable academic background.

Among the 31 top provincial leaders, 18 were born in the 1960s, with the youngest one being 54-year-old Wu Zhenglong, who serves as the governor of the eastern province of Jiangsu. The oldest leader is 65-year-old Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Compared with the 31 provincial party secretaries, among whom only three were born in the 1960s, these 31 governors, mayors and chairmen boast a younger average age.

In Chinese politics, provincial party secretaries are top leaders of provincial party committees, and in most cases they are de facto superiors to top government officials as the highest-ranking leaders in provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. China has 22 provinces, four municipalities and five autonomous regions. The top government official of a province and municipality is called governor and mayor respectively, while the top government official of an autonomous region is named chairman.

In terms of educational background, 15 out of the 31 top provincial government officials hold a doctoral degree. Ma Xingrui, the governor of the southern province of Guangdong, stands out from his doctor peers with another academic title – academician of the International Academy of Astronautics.

28 of the top provincial government officials have served in several other provinces, among whom 18 used to work for the ministries and commissions of the State Council, the country's cabinet. Wang Wentao, the governor of the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, can be considered as a veteran official due to his rich working experience in Shanghai municipality and the provinces of Yunnan, Jiangxi and Shandong.

The reshuffle of the highest-ranking provincial officials comes as China enters a new phase of reform and opening up and is at a key moment for the realization of the moderately prosperous society in 2020.

Domestically, China is finding ways to maintain its economy at a medium-to-high growth pace. China posted the second-quarter gross domestic product growth of 6.7 percent, slightly lower than 6.8 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Globally, China is now facing a raft of challenges, with a biggest one coming from the United States, which is fighting a trade war with Beijing. Many economists say that the escalation of the trade war would dampen the prospect of the Chinese economy.

On Tuesday, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that the Donald Trump administration will impose a 25 percent tariff on another $16 billion worth of Chinese goods starting August 23, in the latest salvo in the escalating trade war between the two countries. The new tariff will hit 279 items which include electronic components, chemical products, batteries and rail locomotives.

China is estimated to hit back with a similar tariff measure that will hit the same amount of US goods such as medical equipment and energy products.
 


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