Beijing Announces New Party Chief

After several weeks of speculation, closed its municipal party congress on Tuesday by announcing the appointment of current mayor as the city’s next Communist Party chief. Reuters reports that Guo’s ascension will help outgoing President Hu Jintao retain influence beyond his departure from office:

Guo is now expected to be a shoo-in to join the party’s decision-making Politburo during the leadership change at the 18th national party congress later this year.

President Hu has not made public his plans for retirement but, unlike in the West where former presidents and prime ministers tend to fade from the public eye, Chinese leaders seek to maintain influence to avoid possible adverse political repercussions.

Guo spoke at the end of the municipal party committee’s plenary session, according to the China Daily:

“The standing committee must at all times and under all circumstances adhere to the Party’s mass line, and regard the people’s interests as the starting point and goal of all our work,” said Guo, who became the municipality’s new Party secretary in a decision announced at the end of the 11th Beijing Municipal Party Congress.

Guo told reporters that the municipal Party committee will be persistent in the reform progress and will continue to solve problems regarding employment, housing, education, medical care, social security, environment and transportation, which were the top concerns of the people in Beijing.

He also emphasized that members of the standing committee must always be honest and remain uncorrupted.

Business Insider published Guo’s full resume from the time he joined the party in 1979 in Province, where he spent 15 years before moving to , and then joining the Beijing municipal government as Mayor. Guo was also sued during a February visit to Taiwan by a group of local practitioners, who claimed he had committed crimes against humanity in connection with the torture and abuse of both followers and Tibetans.

See also previous CDT coverage of China’s upcoming .