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Chinese President Xi Jinping has promoted an ally to the top job in Shanghai, media reported today. The elevation of Li Qiang is another sign of Xi's increasing control over China. Xi has amassed more personal power -- and propaganda backing -- than any leader since Mao Zedong in the 1970s, breaking with two decades of shared authority among a group of senior party figures. Part of his power accumulation efforts include promoting allies from Zhejiang province, which is near Shanghai and where Xi once led the Communist Party, to senior party, government and army posts. Li, 58, worked under Xi when Xi was party chief in Zhejiang from 2003-2007.
Seen as a proponent of economic reforms, Li will likely champion Xi's vision for Shanghai as a global trading hub. The official Xinhua News Agency reported today that Li replaces Han Zheng, who was elevated to the party's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee. Under Xi's leadership, the Communist Party has become increasingly assertive in promoting its own vision for how to regulate global finance, technology, news media and other matters. Outside monitoring groups say China strictly controls freedom of expression and abuses human rights.