According to overseas Chinese media, the personnel reshuffle within the Party is accelerating before the 20th National Congress. Recently, seven vice-governors from Shandong and Sichuan provinces resigned on the same day.

During the meeting on early June 9, Sichuan Provincial People’s Congress approved Luo Wen and Chen Wei’s resignation. Luo Wenci was the Deputy Secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Party Committee, while Chen Wei used to be Vice Governor of the Sichuan Provincial Government.

On the same day, the Shandong Provincial People’s Congress accepted the resignation requests of 5 vice governors.

Notably, the five resigned vice governors of Shandong Province have gone through changes in the past six months. Among them, one was transferred to work in another region, two were elected to the Standing Committee of the Shandong Provincial Party Committee, and the other two were demoted.

The Party’s personnel change has already taken place since late May. In many provinces, several deputy governors and leading officials of the Public Security Department have undergone intensive adjustments.

On May 28, the Tianjin Municipal Party Committee had a new member transferred from the State Administration for Market Regulation. A day earlier, Anhui province had a new deputy governor cum Provincial Public Security Department director. 

From May 24 to 26, Hunan, Guizhou, and Shanxi Province all welcomed new deputy governors transferring from other parts of the country.

Current affairs commentator Yue Shan analyzed that the Beijing authorities were taking advantage of the 20th National Congress to strengthen central power control. The commentator expected changes in local personnel would continue as the 20th National Congress approached.

The commentator also pointed out several changing patterns in some key provinces, like appointing new senior officials at the standing committee level or cross-provincial personnel swaps. In addition, officials that are not regional natives have started taking on new positions in the local governments.

At the same time, many officials have been removed. In this regard, independent writer Zhuge Mingyang told Da Ji Yuan news outlet that some of Xi Jinping-faction’s members have been investigated. This highlights the fierce internal struggle in the Party before the most crucial meeting later this year. 

For example, on June 1, Zhang Bencai, the chief procurator of the Shanghai Municipal Procuratorate, was investigated. On the same day, the deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Guangdong Provincial People’s Congress, Chen Rugui, was investigated.

Political commentator Chen Pokong said that Chen Rugui was appointed as mayor of Shenzhen in 2017 when Xi Jinping was at the peak of his political career. It means that Chen Rugui is someone that Xi can trust. 

On May 1, Zhang Jinghua, the former deputy secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee, was expelled from the Party. Zhang also served under Xi during Xi’s peak period.

According to Yue Shan’s analysis, one of Xi’s charges for cracking down on his political opponents has been forming political gangs or political circles. However, the situation has become complicated after years of repeated cross-province appointments and with the provincial political forces. Because intertwined political factions have formed in various regions, it’s difficult for even the top rulers to distinguish between the enemies and allies. 

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