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Feb 25, 2008 | 15:02 GMT

2 mins read

China: Beijing's Latest Move to Rein in Shanghai

China Photos/Getty Images
Former Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan could lead China's new finance mega-ministry, Reuters reported Feb. 25. If the Chinese central government appoints someone from Beijing to head the ministry, it would signal a coup for Beijing's ongoing efforts to keep Shanghai in check. China's top political decision-makers from the Central Party Committee began a three-day plenum Feb. 25 to finalize the agenda for the annual National People's Congress session, which opens March 5, state-owned Xinhua news agency reported. That agenda will include President Hu Jintao's plans to streamline China's enormous political bureaucracy and reconsolidate Beijing's control over China's chaotic strategic sectors by merging multiple powerful political ministries and entities into a limited number of mega-ministries. Xinhua's online edition reported Feb. 25 that sources said a new transportation mega-ministry will merge the Ministry of Communications, the Civil Aviation Administration and the State Postal Bureau of Communications. Another new mega-ministry will be created from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Water Resources and the State Forestry Administration. The most significant news was Wang's potential appointment to head a new finance mega-ministry. If Hu places someone from Beijing's, rather than Shanghai's, political elite at the helm of the mega-minsistry that oversees China's all-powerful banking, securities and insurance regulators, it would be a milestone in Beijing's yearlong effort to rein in the powerful Shanghai faction, whose national political influence continues to thrive due to Beijing's dependence on Shanghai's contribution to central government income.

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