Beijing’s mayor is apparently still on track to be promoted to China’s powerful decisionmaking body despite public questioning of the city government’s handling of floods that left at least 37 dead.
Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong (郭金龍) and one of his vice mayors resigned, state media reported yesterday, in what is likely a routine reshuffling. The announcement came as more rain was forecast to hit Beijing and amid signs that the death toll from last weekend’s storms could jump higher.
Saturday’s massive flooding was a major embarrassment for the Chinese capital, which spent billions of dollars modernizing the city while apparently neglecting its drainage systems.
State media, analysts and netizens have piled on criticism of the city’s handling of the crisis and its lack of preparedness.
The outgoing mayor had already been tapped for a promotion to the city’s top position as Communist Party secretary, so his resignation was not unexpected.
Though his promotion appears to be moving forward, the storm and its fallout are a taint on him and his mentor and ally Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). As Beijing’s party secretary, Guo is almost certain to be named to the powerful 25-member Politburo at a party congress later this year.
Xinhua news agency said Wang Anshun (王安順), a Beijing city official since 2007, was appointed acting mayor.
One of Guo’s vice mayors, Ji Lin (吉林), also resigned. State media reported earlier that Ji had taken up a position as head of the city’s Political and Legal Committee.