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Netizens question young official's 'rocket promotion'

By AN BAIJIE  (China Daily)

08:06, May 22, 2013

A Party official in East China's Jiangsu province has denied nepotism played a part in the promotion of a senior official's daughter to a top post.

Yuan Huizhong, 30, was appointed deputy secretary of Yangzhou's Communist Youth League in February.

The appointment raised eyebrows, as she previously only had three years of experience with township authorities.

A post this week by an anonymous blogger on Sina Weibo claimed the promotion had more to do with Yuan's father than with her skills. Her father, Yuan Qiunian, is a secretary of the commission for political and legal affairs and considered Yangzhou's top security official.

The post had been forwarded more than 2,000 times by Tuesday evening.

Other officials have cast doubt on the validity of Yuan's appointment.

Zheng Dewei, who is in charge of petitioning affairs for Chaohe township in neighboring Shandong province, said it usually takes at least nine years for a township cadre to be promoted to her level.

"Most township officials have no opportunity to get promoted, even though they work hard, because posts are scarce," he said.

Yuan Huizhong and her father were unavailable for comment on Tuesday, while calls to the city publicity departments went unanswered.

However, on Monday the Modern Express quoted Zhang Aijun, secretary of the organization department for the city's Party committee, which is responsible for personnel, as saying Yuan Huizhong had earned the job fairly, and that her father exerted no influence over the selection process.

Zhang said all 35 members of the Communist Youth League committee had voted to appoint the 30-year-old, one of 26 candidates up for the post.

According to the city government's website, Yuan Huizhong received a PhD from Nanjing University three years ago.

She went on to work as assistant to the head of Xihu township, before being made deputy secretary of Yangzhou's Weiyang district Communist Youth League committee and then head of Chengbei township.

It is not the first time netizens have cast the spotlight on what in online slang is called a "rocket promotion", usually involving people with wealthy or powerful family connections.

Xu Tao, nominated as deputy secretary of Xiangtan county in Hunan province in December at age 27, was removed from the post on May 7 after posts raised questions about his five years of working experience.

His father had been chairman of the local people's congress and his mother was deputy director of the district's procuratorate, Xinhua News Agency reported.

At least 18 other young officials have also reportedly been promoted at "rocket speed" in recent years, including 11 who were related to officials, China News Service reported.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee, said any personnel reshuffle should strictly stick to procedures, People's Daily reported.

It is forbidden for officials to gain private interests through maneuvering the process of "exceptional promotions", the senior official was quoted as saying during an inspection in Henan province.

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