Xi Jinping's allies named as head of propaganda and chief of staff

Huang Kunming and Ding Xuexiang are the latest of Xi Jinping's allies to be appointed to key positions.
Huang Kunming and Ding Xuexiang are the latest of Xi Jinping's allies to be appointed to key positions.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - Another two allies of President Xi Jinping have been appointed to senior positions in the Communist Party of China (CPC) - head of propaganda and chief of staff.

Huang Kunming, 60, is the new head of propaganda, while Ding Xuexiang, 55, is the director of the General Office, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

Both men were formerly second in command in their respective departments, said the report. They were among some of Xi's allies who were promoted to the powerful 25-member Politburo at the 19th national party congress last week.

Huang had worked with Xi in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces from the mid-1980s to 2007, according to SCMP. In 2013, he was promoted to deputy director of the central propaganda department, two months after Xi gave a hardline speech on propaganda and ideology. 

Xinhua news agency quoted Huang as saying on Monday that China's publicity, ideological and cultural departments will "initiate the study and implementation of the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress across the country". They will focus on the "study and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era," he said.

During the closing of the five-yearly national congress last week, some 2,300 delegates unanimously passed amendments to the party charter, the most important of which was the inclusion of Xi's political thought.

It was added to the preamble that describes the party's guiding ideology, including Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development. This has boosted Xi's power and allowed him to get the party into line. 

As for Ding, his relationship with Xi dates back to March 2007, when the latter was Shanghai party chief, SCMP reported.  Ding worked as Xi's secretary for seven months. He was promoted to deputy director of the General Office in 2013 and soon after, was given a new title of director of Xi’s personal office.  

The SCMP report, citing sources, also said Zhao Kezhi, the former party boss of Hebei province, may take over from Guo Shengkun as China’s top law enforcement official.

Zhao, 63, was deputy party chief of Guizhou province from 2010 to 2012, working under Li Zhanshu, who was promoted  to No. 3 position in the PSC last week. 

Zhao replaced Li as Guizhou party chief in July 2012 and became Hebei party chief three years later, said the report.

Huang and Ding are the latest Xi allies to be appointed to key party positions. On Sunday, Li Qiang, 58, was named the top Communist Party official in Shanghai, replacing Han Zheng who joined the elite Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), Xinhua reported.

On Saturday, Li Xi, 61, was appointed party secretary of Guangdong province, replacing Hu Chunhua, 54.