Bo XiLai: Chonqing’s New Mayor, and New Future?

Friday, February 29, 2008 8:21

Last December, I referenced an article in the China Daily Five provinces get new leaders in major reshuffle where it was announced Bo Xilai (China Vitae Profile here), ten mayor of Dalian, and 4 other successful mayors would be posted to cities inland.

At the time, it didn’t get much press internationally, however this Guardian article shows how some in the city of Chongqing are already believing this will be a good thing for them.

“Chongqing residents are putting a lot of hope in Bo Xilai. People feel the city has a new opportunity,” said Xiao Zhou, 32, who works for a cosmetics company in the heart of the city.

and where I feel the author hits the mark is in the statement:

Bo’s international profile, honed during his nearly four years as Commerce Minister, has given hope to the region that he might lure the kind of foreign investment that helped China’s coastal areas take off.

However, where I think the article comes up short is that outside of his ability to draw in investment, the author failed to bring up the fact that some of China’s most important reforms have just been put in place, or are just now going in place, and as a trusted member of the inner circle, the central party is looking at he (and the other 4) as the persons who will ensure compliance.

Therefore, unlike the mayors of Suzhou and Nanjing whose sole mandate was to building GDP, I expect his role will be to build GDP in a sustainable fashion that brings strength to the rural region.

He will be asked to development of public infrastructure, improve the investment procedures that firms go through, ensure that firms are in compliance with labor laws., and perhaps most importantly balance the environmental concerns of developing the Southwest – interesting his proximity to 2 massive water projects – and his former city’s reputation for a fantastic environment.

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2 Responses to “Bo XiLai: Chonqing’s New Mayor, and New Future?”

  1. Matt in Chongqing says:

    February 29th, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    broken link on the article in the guardian..

  2. Rich says:

    February 29th, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Matt,

    Not sure what happened. I searched their site, and nothing.

    Here is an IHT article that oddly enough has the same quotes. New optimism for a gritty Chinese city