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Chinese political rising star steps into spotlight, pledges to tackle Beijing’s smog

One of China’s rising political stars made a rare appearance in the public spotlight on Saturday, giving his first work report as Beijing’s mayor.

Cai Qi was made the capital’s acting mayor in October last year and political analysts have made him a front runner to take a post in the Politburo in a government reshuffle in the autumn.

He is likely to join the top decision making body in the role of local Communist Party chief in Beijing, according to observers.

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Cai spent about 90 minutes reading out his work report in a slightly hoarse voice with a heavy Fujian province accent on Saturday morning.

Cai pledged to try his best to tackle the capital’s chronic air pollution.

He set a target or reducing concentrations of PM2.5, the small particles in smog most harmful to health, by about 18 per cent this year. The capital is struggling to reach a target to reduce PM2.5 levels set by the central government four years ago.

Cai’s appointment in Beijing is his fourth job in four years.

He has worked with President Xi Jinping for more than a decade, first in Fujian province and later in Zhejiang province.

He was promoted to the National Security Commission three years ago, which was founded and chaired by Xi, and became deputy director of its general office.

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Beijing’s Communist Party chief Guo Jinlong, has reached retirement age and is expected to step down at the party’s National Congress in Beijing this autumn.

The mayor of the capital has always taken the party chief role over the past 20 years.

Cai’s job at the national security commission included politics, diplomacy and finance, but his formal title was only confirmed in the shadowy role after he left to become acting mayor in Beijing.

Article source: http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2062191/chinese-political-rising-star-steps-spotlight-pledges