China Leadership Monitor

Promotion of Qiu He Raises Questions about Direction of Reform

Sunday, January 1, 2006

For the last two years, the Chinese media have widely discussed the "Qiu He phenomenon," attempting to understand the significance of a local county party secretary's using autocratic methods to jump-start the economy of Jiangsu's poorest county. The party secretary, Qiu He, has been both praised and criticized. But now he has also been promoted to vice governor of the wealthy province of Jiangsu, and at 50 years of age he could rise farther in China's political system. Promotions to vice governor rarely raise eyebrows, but the significance of Qiu's promotion has been widely discussed. Known as an "official with personality," Qiu stands out among the ranks of China's generally staid bureaucracy, and his rise prompts speculation about what types of officials might be promoted under Hu Jintao and what this means for the building of institutions in China.