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Wu Zhenglong appointed Nanjing boss after weathering political storms

A rising political star who survived the political storms in Chongqing municipality and Shanxi province is tipped to become the deputy party chief of the affluent eastern Jiangsu province as well as the top party official of its capital Nanjing, two sources say.

“The party boss of Taiyuan Wu Zhenglong will soon be named the deputy party secretary of Jiangsu province and party head of Nanjing,” a Nanjing-based source told the South China Morning Post on Tuesday.

Another source in Shanxi also said 52-year-old Wu would be promoted, adding that such a move would pave the way for further advancements in Wu’s future.

Wu is one of few direct subordinates of disgraced Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai to survive the subsequent political storm and make his way further up the political ladder. Many of his former colleagues in Chongqing were purged during the clean-up of the rank and file after Bo’s downfall.

He was “parachuted” into Taiyuan city as party chief and a standing member of the Shanxi provincial party committee in August 2014 in the middle of a political storm as an intense anti corruption crackdown brought down many officials in the province.

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Suffering from a “landslide of corruption”, the resource-rich Shanxi saw the fall of four standing members of its party committee in 2014, including Chen Chuanping, the former Taiyuan party boss.

Most of these officials were removed before Wu arrived, but the crackdown continued. Bai Yun, a standing member of Shanxi provincial party committee, and Ren Runhou, a vice-governor of the coal-rich province, were subject to investigation after Wu’s appointment.

Wang Rulin, the former Shanxi province party boss, was also removed from the post in late June.

Wu was re-elected as Taiyuan party boss during a power reshuffle on September 29 this year, according to Taiyuan Daily.

The prospective appointment, although the same level as Wu’s post in Taiyuan, has better prospects as a regional deputy party secretary is generally regarded as more powerful than a standing member of a regional party committee.

The same sources said the vacancy left by Wu would be filled by Wang Weizhong, the secretary general of the Shanxi provincial party committee. Meanwhile, Huang Xiaowei, Shanxi’s top graft-buster, would be named deputy party secretary of the province, the sources added.

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Wu, a Jiangsu native, served as secretary to Bao Xuding for about 10 years, when the latter was the vice-minister and minister of the Machinery Industry, the vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission and the mayor of Chongqing municipality between 1993 and 2002.

Wu was made the acting government head of Wanzhou district in Chongqing in 2002, the year his boss Bao retired as Chongqing mayor. Wu was also a standing member of the Chongqing municipal party committee between 2007 and 2012, when maverick Bo Xilai was party secretary of the southwestern municipality.

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Wu’s political career was apparently not affected by the downfall of Bo, his immediate boss at the time. Wu was transferred to the more powerful position of secretary general of the Chongqing municipal party committee in 2013.

A number of top party officials of regional capitals has fallen since the party’s 18th national congress in late 2012.

In addition to Chen, regional capital party bosses who were investigated included Li Chuncheng from Chengdu in Sichuan, Wan Qingliang from Guangzhou in Guangdong, Yu Yuanhui from Nanning in Guangxi, Yang Weize from Nanjing and Wang Min from Jinan in Shandong.

Wu, however, managed to weather the political turmoil triggered by Bo in Chongqing a couple of years ago and continued to climb the political ladder.