Who is Guo Jinlong?
· Communist Party Secretary of Beijing (Party position)
On July 25, 2012, state media announced Guo Jinlong had stepped down as Beijing mayor, and had been "elected" Beijing Party Secretary. Guo, 64, had been the mayor of Beijing since 2008. Guo was the Executive President of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympics.
Guo's Beijing Party Secretary position is more powerful than the mayorship, because Party positions are always more powerful than government positions at the same level. This appointment suggests he will be elevated to China's powerful 25-member Politburo later this year.
The timing of Guo's resignation as Beijing mayor and appointment as Party secretary coincides with the worst flooding Beijing has faced in at least 60 years—for which many citizens blame Guo and his government. However, the change in positions appears unrelated; rather, it follows the routine Standing Committee session of the 13th Beijing Municipal People's Congress.
Guo has held several lower-level party positions before, including in Sichuan province, Anhui province, and Tibet.
Guo holds a degree in physics from Nanjing University.
Role in Persecuting Falun Gong
Guo Jinlong has been sued in Taiwan for his role in repressing Falun Gong. A lawsuit filed on February 16, 2012 by Falun Gong practitioners in Taiwan alleges that Guo committed torture and crimes against humanity.
As acting mayor of Beijing ahead of 2008 Olympic Games, Guo issued orders to put more than 500 Falun Gong practitioners in prison. Prior to that, as Party Secretary of the Anhui Provincial Committee, he published a strategic handbook on how to repress Falun Gong activities in his province, a document that led to the illegal detention of at least 37 Falun Gong practitioners. (Falun Gong practitioners are routinely tortured in prison, and generally are not given access to legal representation.)
It appears Guo Jinlong is loyal to CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao. If true, Guo could be an ally for Hu after Hu retires after the Party Congress, set for late 2012.