Promotion expected for rising political star in China

Taipei, Oct. 30 (CNA) Hu Chunhua, the Communist Party of China's (CPC's) chief of Inner Mongolia, is expected to be promoted to a more important post before President Hu Jintao steps down at the CPC's 18th National Congress next month. Aged 50, Hu Chunhua is considered a cautious and voiceless official in Chinese political circles, preferring to steer clear of publicity. He owes his rapid rise to Hu Jintao's patronage. Originating from remote Wufeng County in Hubei Province, he was the first person in that county ever to be accepted by the prestigious Peking University via entrance examination. After graduating, Hu chose to work in Tibet, where he stayed for 20 years and became fluent in the Tibetan language. In 1987, at the age of 24, Hu was promoted to vice communist chief of the Youth Corps in Tibet. When Hu Jintao clamped down on Tibetan protesters calling for independence while serving as the communist chief in Tibet, he promoted Hu Chunhua as one of his aides and then appointed him deputy chief of a department in Tibet, making Hu Chunhua, by that time just 30 years old, the youngest department vice chief in China at the time. He rose in Chinese political circles in a way very similar to Hu Jintao, earning him the nickname "Hu Jintao Jr." After being named the governor of Hebei Province in 2008, his reputation was clouded by two accidents -- an explosion at a coal mine in Wei County in which more than 30 miners were killed, which was hushed up by the government with cash and intimidation of the families of the dead, and the 2008 melamine-tainted milk scandal in which more than 300,000 infants suffered kidney damage as a result of drinking tainted infant formula produced by the Sanlu Group. During the two incidents, Hu Chunhua was criticized by the mass media but he survived and was promoted to the post of communist party chief of Inner Mongolia. While serving in Inner Mongolia, he was blamed for allowing businessmen to mine coal excessively, damaging the environment and leading to the uneven distribution of wealth between Mongolian and Han Chinese. People discontented with this staged protests many times, prompting the local authorities to impose curfews. Lacking any brilliant performance in his job, Hu Chunhua's astronomical rise can only be explained by Hu Jintao's trust in him. (By Rita Cheng and Maubo Chang)

Updated : 2021-04-19 09:15 GMT+08:00