Mon, Oct 29, 2007 - Page 5 News List

CCP names Yu Zhengsheng as Shanghai party chief

SURVIVOR The former Hubei Province party secretary has had to overcome two family scandals to rise through the party ranks. He was seen as a compromise choice


The Chinese Communist Party has appointed Yu Zhengsheng (俞正聲), a man who survived a major family spy scandal, as chief of Shanghai, the nation's top business hub, state media announced on Saturday.

Yu, 62, formerly the party secretary of Hubei Province, takes over from Xi Jinping (習近平), who had to step aside after being promoted last week to the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee.

Yu will be replaced as party secretary of the CCP's Hubei Provincial Committee by Luo Qingquan (羅清泉), who has been serving as governor of Hubei, Xinhua news agency said.

Seen as a compromise candidate to satisfy rival political factions in Beijing, Yu takes the reins of China's biggest metropolis after a multi-million dollar corruption scandal tarnished the party.

The case, involving the misuse of US$480 million from Shanghai's social security fund that wound up in real estate and road investment projects, led to the firing of former city party boss Chen Liangyu (陳良宇), who awaits trial.

At least 20 other officials and businessmen were implicated in the year-long scandal that led to the appointment in March of Xi, then the party boss of Zhejiang, and a man respected for his management skills.

Yu, once mayor of Qingdao, may not have the same managerial credibility as Xi, but he is expected to continue to obediently pursue the economic development goals of President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).

Said to be friendly with Hu's so-called Communist League faction and ex-president Jiang Zemin's (江澤民) "Shanghai gang," Yu is expected to keep the city's US$100 billion economy on a more even keel after years of breakneck growth.

Yu, trained as a ballistic missiles engineer, is a so-called "princeling," who, like many other high-ranking politicians today, can thank his family's communist pedigree for at least part of his political success.

However, his family also almost ruined him.

His career was nearly destroyed when his brother, Yu Qiangsheng (俞強聲), defected as a spy for the US in 1985 in a move that also unveiled CIA translator Larry Wu-tai Chin (金無怠) as a Chinese double agent for nearly four decades.

"He is quite an exceptional candidate in that he survived his brother's defection," said Joseph Cheng (鄭宇碩), a China political analyst at Hong Kong's City University.

Yu's family was persecuted in the 1970s because his father had once been married to Mao Zedong's (毛澤東) fourth wife, Jiang Qing (江青), who was blamed for many of the horrors of the Cultural Revolution.

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