China names former provincial party boss as chief justice

BEIJING: China's national legislators Friday voted in a new Chief Justice in Mr Zhou Qiang, the former party boss of central Hunan province, who was once considered a potential Communist Party chief.

The move signals that the protege of just-retired Chinese President Hu Jintao may have fallen behind in the power race to peers Hu Chunhua and Sun Zhengcai, party bosses of Guangdong and Chongqing respectively. Both 49-year-olds were named to the party's elite 25-member Politburo last year.

Mr Zhou, who turns 53 next month and is trained as a lawyer, scored 2,908 of 2,957 votes cast. He replaces the previous president of the Supreme People's Court Wang Shengjun, who is now a vice-chairman of the National People's Congress, China's parliament.

Chief prosecutor Cao Jianming, 57, was also re-elected in his post as the Procurator-General of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. China's annual political sessions will end on Sunday, with Mr Li fielding questions from reporters for the first time as Premier.