Politics - 17 Jul 2017

Xi’s man takes charge in Chongqing

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Chen Min’er. That’s who succeeded Sun Zhengcai in Chongqing.

Get to know that name if you don’t already.

Until Friday night, Chen served as Party secretary of Guizhou. That position already made him a candidate to succeed Xi Jinping in 2022. But he was a dark horse contender.

Now, though, the promotion to Chongqing Party boss and his status as a long-time Xi loyalistmean that he may be the man to beat.

Some background: Chen was Xi Jinping’s propaganda chief when Xi ran Zhejiang from 2002-2007. In that role, Chen oversaw a series of articles penned by Xi in the Zhejiang Daily. Those articles were instrumental in laying out Xi’s bona fides and eventually getting him selected as Party General Secretary.

What to watch: It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which Chen – a trusted pair of hands – comes into Chongqing, cleans up the Sun Zhengcai mess and then moves on to higher office. That’s exactly what happened in 2007, when Xi Jinping took over Shanghai for only seven months to clean up a similar scandal.

Xi then went on to accede to the Politburo Standing Committee as successor-designate.