BEIJING • Two former subordinates of Chinese President Xi Jinping were appointed mayors of Beijing and Shanghai yesterday, postings that help set the stage for a party leadership reshuffle later this year.
Mr Cai Qi, 61, who has been acting mayor of Beijing since October, crossed paths with Mr Xi over two decades in two provinces, including various senior positions.
Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong, 59, the city's deputy mayor since September, rose under Mr Xi when he led the eastern province of Zhejiang between 2003 and 2007.
The appointments came on the closing day of annual parliamentary sessions in both municipalities, and are part of a sweep of local government changes in preparation for the 19th Party Congress.
Mr Xi was designated the party's "core" leader three months ago, enhancing his ability to push his agenda and promote favoured officials during the twice-a-decade reshuffle. A string of his former associates have been promoted over the past few months.
More changes at the top of local governments and party ranks are expected before the congress, set for the fourth quarter of the year.
Mr Cai served under Mr Xi in the south-eastern province of Fujian and later in the eastern province of Zhejiang. He was appointed deputy chief of the National Security Commission in 2014, a national-level agency created by President Xi, who heads the commission.
Mr Ying also served under Mr Xi in Zhejiang, rising from a position at the public security bureau to deputy head of the anti-corruption watchdog, becoming provincial chief justice in 2006.
Mr Ying was transferred to head the top municipal court in Shanghai in 2007 after Mr Xi's brief stint there as party chief.
The latest appointments complete a changing of the mayoral guard at China's four centrally administered municipalities.
Mr Zhang Guoqing, 52, a former executive of military contractor China North Industries Group, or Norinco, was recently named mayor of the south-western metropolis of Chongqing.
Mr Wang Dongfeng, 58, who is from Mr Xi's home province of Shaanxi, became the top government official in the northern port of Tianjin in November.