BEIJING, Oct 27 (Reuters) Yu Zhengsheng has been named Communist Party secretary of Shanghai, the top official in China's financial centre, the official Xinhua news agency said torday, confirming an October 10 Reuters exclusive.
The post is important because Shanghai boasts on of the world's busiest port, the country's main banking centre and its largest unofficial municipal population, 18 million.
Yu, considered an open-minded and competent administrator, replaces Xi Jinping, who catapulted to the top echelon of power, the Party's nine-member Politburo Standing Committee, during the Party's 17th Congress earlier this month.
Yu, the outgoing Party boss of the central province of Hubei, had declined to confirm his appointment during the Congress, but he had praise nonetheless for Shanghai.
''I think Shanghai is great. It's where our Communist Party was founded, it's where economic opening really took off,'' Yu told delegates and reporters then.
He noted the fast pace of development in Hubei's rural counties, as well as in its main city, Wuhan, when asked during the congress to comment on his performance in Hubei.
''There have been big changes in the Hubei economy and I feel that the development has gone well,'' he told reporters.
''Of course, there are some problems, for instance, the environment and the processes of economic transformation.'' Xi had only held the top job in Shanghai since March, succeeding Chen Liangyu, a political ally of Jiang Zemin, immediate predecessor of President Hu Jintao. Chen has been purged and is now awaiting trial for corruption.
Both Yu and Xi are ''princelings'', the privileged sons and daughters of the country's incumbent, retired or late leaders.
Yu's father was the first Party boss of the northern port city of Tianjin after the 1949 revolution, holding a rank equivalent to cabinet minister. He was also a former husband of Jiang Qing, who later married Chairman Mao Zedong.
The defection of Yu's brother, an intelligence official, to the United States in 1985 delayed his rise. The scandal exposed a retired analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, who committed suicide in a Virginia jail in 1986, days before sentencing for spying for China.
After spending years biding his time in ministerial-level posts, Yu was promoted to the Party's 24-member decision-making Politburo in 2002.
Luo Qingquan will replace Yu as Party secretary of Hubei Xinhua said.
REUTERS SG ND1452