ollowing a change in classification that has led to an extreme surge in the number of coronavirus cases reported in Hubei province, Beijing has decided that it’s time for a local leadership shuffle.
Hubei party secretary Jiang Chaoliang will be replaced by Shanghai’s former mayor Ying Yong in a decision made by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party that was announced on Thursday morning.
Ying Yong is known to be a Xi Jinping loyalist, rising up the ranks in Zhejiang province while Xi served as provincial party secretary. He has extensive experience in public security, starting his career in Chinese politics at a police station.
Joke going around in China:
Hubei people heard that their top official is being replaced by the Shanghai mayor, and they all cheered…
…until they heard that when the Shanghai people got the news of the mayor's departure, THEY all cheered.
— Tanner Brown (@luoshanji) February 13, 2020
Meanwhile, Wuhan party secretary Ma Guoqiang has been similarly shown the door, to be replaced by Wang Zhonglin, the party secretary of Jinan.
Since the outbreak began, officials in Hubei and the provincial capital of Wuhan have faced overwhelming criticism and blame for their response to the coronavirus, which has spread around the world, causing 1,368 deaths.
However, it’s noteworthy that their removal only comes after a change in procedure has caused an explosion in the number of confirmed cases in Hubei province, going from 1,638 new cases on Tuesday to 14,840 on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in the Chinese government, there have been more shakeups with Zhang Xiaoming, the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office being demoted and replaced by Xia Baolong.
Xia also worked under Xi Jinping in Zhejiang province and is best known leading a government campaign in which thousands of crosses were torn down from the province’s churches.