China’s Xi Appoints New Speech Writer, Signaling More Personnel Changes to Come: Analyst

November 1, 2020 Updated: November 2, 2020

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s speech writer was quietly changed to Jiang Jinquan from Wang Huning, who had been in that role for over two decades.

As director of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Policy Research Office (CPRO), Wang has an influential role drafting not only major speeches, but many of Xi’s key policies.

On Oct. 30, Chinese state-run media Xinhua announced that Jiang Jinquan, the deputy director, will be promoted to be director of the CPRO. This confirms that he is replacing Wang Huning, who was in that position since 2002.

The main responsibilities of the CPRO is to provide policy recommendations and insights into matters of governance, spanning political, social, and economic realms.

The CPRO director typically drafts CCP ideologies and theories, as well as policy pronouncements at major congresses or plenums.

Wang was the rare official to be favored by three regime leaders and served in that position under Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and Xi.

Under Xi, Wang became one of the CCP’s most powerful officials. He is a member of the CCP’s top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee. He is also the first-ranked secretary of the Party’s Secretariat, making him the top official in charge of propaganda.

The sudden departure is unusual, leading commentators to speculate about whether Xi was making personnel changes in the leadup to the CCP’s next conclave—the 20th National Congress in 2022. The next succession of Party leaders is decided at each congress, which is held every five years. But Xi paved the road to allowing him to be the CCP leader for life, by eliminating state chairman term limits.

“Xi is starting to change the senior officials for the upcoming 20th National Congress,” said U.S-based China affairs commentator Tang Jingyuan in a phone interview. “Xi will promote more officials who are loyal to him in the coming months.”

According to state-run media People’s Daily, 61-year-old Jiang is from Hubei Province and has worked under Wang since the latter started his career in the CPRO in the 1990s. After 2018, when Jiang was promoted to be CPRO’s deputy director, he participated in important Party internal meetings as Xi’s companion several times.

“Jiang Jinquan is loyal to Xi on the surface, and is Wang’s follower,” Tang introduced. “Xi is utilizing Jiang, likely because he believes the latter would follow the strategies he put out in past years. ”

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the position for which Xi eliminated term limits. The Epoch Times regrets the error.