China appoints new top official for export powerhouse Guangdong

Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:00pm EST
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GUANGZHOU (Reuters) - China announced on Tuesday the appointment of rising star Hu Chunhua as Communist Party boss for the southern export powerhouse of Guangdong, the country's richest and most liberal province.

Hu will take over from reform-minded politician Wang Yang, who worked to reduce Guangdong's reliance on exports and grappled with rising social tensions among migrant workers and villagers fighting land grabs and graft.

The Guangdong Party Secretary post is one of the most prominent provincial leadership roles in China, and has served as a springboard for many politicians towards more senior national posts.

Hu's appointment was announced in a brief statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency. It said Wang Jun would replace Hu as party chief in Inner Mongolia. The article did not say where Wang Yang, seen by many in the West as a beacon of political reform, will be moved to.

Reuters reported last month that Hu, the former Inner Mongolia party chief, was tipped to take over as party chief in Guangdong.

Hu, 49, is part of the so-called "sixth generation" of potential national leaders born in the 1960s, after the generations headed by Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping.

Hu Chunhua spent two decades in restive and remote Tibet, where he learned to speak Tibetan, rare for a Han Chinese official. While there, he came under the wing of Hu Jintao, the outgoing Chinese president.

The two Hus are not related despite sharing a family name.

In Inner Mongolia, Hu Chunhua, also known as "Little Hu", has been referred to as a future president. While there, Hu Chunhua oversaw rapid economic growth and dealt successfully with protests last year by ethnic Mongols.   Continued...

Hu Chunhua, Communist Party chief of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, attends the opening ceremony of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 8, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee