Four new provincial leaders were recently appointed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including one with a record of participating in human rights abuses.
Others were aligned with CCP leader Xi Jinping, indicating that his faction is further solidifying its power.
CCP Loyalist: Jing Junhai
Chinese state media Xinhua reported the news on Nov. 20.
Jing Junhai, 60, is a native of Baishui county, Shaanxi Province, which is also Xi’s home province. Jing is a graduate of Northwest Telecommunications Engineering College. The school’s history can be traced back to the Central Military Committee Radio School during China’s civil war in 1931.
After graduation, Jing taught at his alma mater until he was transferred to the Management Commission of Xi’an Hi-Tech Industrial Park in 1991, where he began his political career. Since then, he has remained in Shaanxi, holding various government posts.
In May 2012, while Jing was head of the propaganda department of the Shaanxi Party committee, he allegedly pushed for the expansion of the gravesite of Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, who was a former senior Party official. The new gravesite is much larger than the previous one, occupying an area of about 400 mu (about 266,800 square meters). It has also become Shaanxi’s “patriotic education base” and is heavily guarded by armed police, according to local sources.
Analysts say the gravesite expansion project won Xi’s favor and opened the doors for Jing’s political career.
In July 2014, Jing wrote an article that proved his allegiance to Xi and the CCP. The article, titled, “Maintaining a High Degree of Consistency With the CCP Central Committee,” appeared in Qiu Shi, a state-run political theory magazine.
Ex-defense Industry Official: Xu Dazhe
Xu Dazhe, 64, grew up in Liuyang city, Hunan Province. He attended Harbin Institute of Technology in 1978. Xu began working for China’s aerospace industry in 1984. He was later appointed head of the China National Space Administration in 2013, according to Chinese media reports.
China’s space program is tied to its military, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA views space superiority as “the ability to control the information sphere and denying adversaries the same as key components of conducting modern ‘informatized’ wars,” according to a 2019 report titled “Challenges to Security in Space” by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
In August 2016, Xu was appointed deputy Party chief of Hunan.
Since the 18th National Congress when Xi took power in late 2012, there has been a trend of ex-defense personnel emerging in China’s political arena. Chinese author and political commentator Chen Pokong believes this is because Xi is preparing for a potential conflict with the United States and Taiwan, and to assert Beijing’s dominance in the South China Sea.
Xi’s anti-corruption campaign purged many “tigers and flies”—CCP jargon for high- and low-ranking officials—who were loyal to former CCP leader Jiang Zemin. Xi wanted to secure his power by appointing people he can trust such as those who do not have a political background or connections, according to Chinese media reports.
Human Rights Violator: Shen Yiqin
Shen Yiqin, 61, is a native of Zhijin county, Guizhou Province. She stands out as a high-ranking official because she is the only female provincial Party boss and of Bai ethnic heritage.
Shen attended Guizhou University in 1978 and studied history. After graduation, she was assigned to work in the CCP’s Guizhou Party School, and after 17 years, became the deputy principal.
Shen began her political career in December 2001 as a deputy Party chief in the Qiannan Buyei and Miao prefecture of Guizhou.
Then, she became head of the Guizhou Political and Legal Affairs Commission from April 2015 to September 2017, which means she oversaw the provincial police, prosecutor’s office, courts, and prison systems. During her tenure, Shen was allegedly responsible for human rights abuses committed against local Falun Gong adherents in the province, the nonprofit World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) reported on Feb. 4, 2017.
Shen became Guizhou governor (the first female governor at the time) in September 2017.
Former Chief of Wuhan: Ruan Chengfa
Ruan Chengfa, 63, is a native of Wuhan city, capital of Hubei Province. He attended Wuhan University and majored in industrial economy management.
In February 1985, Ruan entered politics, working in the division of investigation and research of the Wuhan government. He moved up the political ladder and was promoted to Party chief of Wuhan in January 2011.
When Ruan was deputy director of the General Office, he obtained a master’s degree in political studies on communism and Marxism in 1993. He then earned a doctorate and completed his studies in 2001 while he was mayor of Huangshi city, Hubei.
Many CCP officials obtain advanced degrees during their tenure but critics have suspected widespread academic fraud. Chinese economist Hu Xingdou called the phenomenon “eroding academic integrity,” according to a Chinese media report published on Dec. 9, 2015.
“Illegal deals between powerful political leaders as on-the-job candidates for doctoral degrees and university authorities are likely to emerge, which poisons the academic atmosphere of the campus, pollutes the integrity of degrees.” Hu pointed out, “Currently, the largest population of candidates for doctoral degrees lies in the community of Chinese officials. Some of them never attend class, nor can they write papers. All their papers are written by their secretaries.”
Ruan is known for approving many infrastructure projects in Wuhan during his tenure as Party chief. At the peak, there were more than 5,000 locations under construction at the same time, according to a report published on Feb. 15, 2011 by Chutian Metropolis Daily.
Some residents praised the projects, such as the construction of several subway lines that eased traffic congestion and facilitated public transit in the city.
Meanwhile, critics complained that the intense construction work caused a lot of noise and dust at almost unbearable levels. The construction was also blamed for causing flooding after a heavy rain in June 2011, according to Chinese media reports.
A local who has lived in Wuhan for more than two decades spoke with The Epoch Times. He expressed resentment towards powerful political figures in China and believes CCP officials cannot be trusted.