Analysts believe that Beijing’s recent appointments to the chairs of the top provincial political advisory bodies are an effort to improve ties with non-party social elites and to provide a career path for the officials.
New chairs for the regional committees of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference have been elected in all 31 regions, provinces, and municipalities across the Chinese mainland. Of these 31 regions, 30 of the newly elected chairs were born in the 1960s and thus are eligible to serve a full five-year term before retiring.
That’s a big change from the old practise, where senior regional Communist Party positions in the CPPCC and the National People’s Congress (the highest legislature in China) were reserved for ageing out provincial party leaders. Typically, they would serve in these largely ceremonial roles for three years before moving on.
The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is the primary organisation used by the Communist Party to reach out to non-party members and elites in different sectors. Its origins can be traced back to the days of China’s civil war, when Communists and Nationalists sought to find a way to resolve their differences through dialogue.
Among the 376 full and alternate members of the party Central Committee formed at the national party congress in October were six of the new regional CPPCC committee heads, indicating that they will play significant roles over the next five years.
Nurlan Abdulmanjin, 60, of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is the only regional CPPCC committee head and full member of the Central Committee. Shanghai’s Hu Wenrong and Jilin’s Zhu Guoxian, both 59, and Guangdong’s Lin Keqing, Hainan’s Li Rongcan, and Ningxia Hui autonomous region’s Chen Yong, all 57, are the other two regular members.
Hu, a native of China’s Fujian province, is widely recognised as a pioneer in pollution control technology and the environmental science field. In recent years, he has risen through the ranks to hold important positions in Shandong province, Chongqing, and Shanghai.