Beijing get together chief Cai makes use of loyalty to Xi to vault to prime rank By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Beijing Communist Celebration Secretary Cai Qi attends the closing ceremony of the twentieth Nationwide Congress of the Communist Celebration of China, on the Nice Corridor of the Folks in Beijing, China October 22, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

By Eduardo Baptista and Martin Quin Pollard

BEIJING (Reuters) – Cai Qi catapulted to the highest rung of China’s management on Sunday, capping a late profession rise that overcame a lower than ideally suited stretch as Beijing’s Communist Celebration boss.

Cai, 66, was not on everybody’s listing for the elite Politburo Standing Committee, however he’s seen as certainly one of Xi’s closest political allies, having labored with him for 20 years within the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang.

His leap to the get together’s prime governing physique was paying homage to a bounce in 2017 into the Politburo with out the standard first cease on the bigger Central Committee.

China’s strongest ruler since Mao Zedong, Xi stacked the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee with allies, leaving out distinguished reform-minded officers, together with Hu Chunhua, Wang Yang, and outgoing Premier Li Keqiang. They had been seen by some get together watchers to be in rivalry for a seat.

Promoted regardless of going through difficulties in main China’s capital, Cai is very like one other Xi ally elevated to the Standing Committee, Shanghai Celebration Secretary Li Qiang. Li, the possible subsequent premier, confronted widespread public anger at a botched COVID-19 lockdown this 12 months.

Cai and Li on Sunday joined a protracted listing of Shanghai and Beijing Celebration bosses which were promoted to the Standing Committee.

Cai was promoted in 2014 to common workplace deputy director on the Beijing-based Nationwide Safety Fee, a physique based and chaired by Xi. A 12 months later, he was promoted to ministerial rank, changing into Beijing’s mayor the 12 months after.

He joined the Politburo in 2017, when he was named Beijing’s get together secretary.

“The truth that Cai was promoted 4 occasions over (these) 4 years suggests his significance to Xi Jinping,” mentioned Cheng Li, an skilled on Chinese language politics on the Brookings Establishment.

Now, analysts say Cai is more likely to head the Celebration’s Central Secretariat, the physique answerable for the Politburo’s routine operations.

Neil Thomas, a senior analyst for China and Northeast Asia on the Eurasia Group, mentioned that in addition to Cai, just one different Xi ally, Yang Xiaodu, was “helicoptered” from outdoors the Central Committee straight into the Politburo in 2017, a promotion final seen in 1992.

In 2017, simply weeks after the nineteenth Celebration Congress, Cai confronted loud public criticism over the compelled eviction of migrant employees on Beijing’s outskirts. Photographs of demolished houses circulated on-line with leaked movies displaying Cai saying the operation ought to be a “cut-and-thrust and difficult confrontation”.

Cai weathered the storm, adjusting his public tone in the direction of the residents affected by the crackdown.

“Cai was not standard as get together secretary in Beijing, however once more, loyalty trumped recognition,” mentioned Yang Zhang, assistant professor at American College’s Faculty of Worldwide Service in Washington.

Utilizing a title beforehand solely utilized by Mao’s propagandists to confer with the founding father of the Folks’s Republic, Cai instructed the Beijing delegation throughout final week’s get together congress: “Normal Secretary Xi Jinping leads the trail for all folks within the get together and nation within the new period. He’s the folks’s chief whom we sincerely love and admire.”


In contrast to most top-level get together officers, Cai was as soon as an adept person of social media, garnering over 10 million followers on China’s Twitter-like Weibo (NASDAQ:) whereas working in Zhejiang province.

He broke with conference in 2014, saying his promotion to the Xi-led Nationwide Safety Fee earlier than state media reported the information, in accordance with the official China Every day.

Regardless of making a mark for partaking frankly with residents, even serving to a number of clear up issues they raised on his Weibo account, Cai stopped posting after transferring to Beijing.

In 2011, Cai praised Fb (NASDAQ:) and lamented that it was blocked in China. He has mentioned officers wanted to get used to public supervision when explaining why he was so lively on social media, in accordance with China Every day.

A decade later, throughout a Beijing Celebration committee assembly on our on-line world and beliefs hosted by Cai, no point out was fabricated from residents utilizing social media to carry officers accountable.

As an alternative, the assembly mentioned the capital would deal with selling “constructive power” on-line.

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