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4. Xi's aide promoted to Beijing party chief

Beijing's mayor, Cai Qi, has been promoted to the Communist Party chief of the Chinese capital, a move widely viewed as part of President Xi Jinping's effort to consolidate his power base ahead of an upcoming party congress.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday that Cai was appointed secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party, a post that outranks that of mayor.

Cai, who is 61 years old, has maintained close ties with Xi since working under him in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces.

Cai became mayor in January this year. It took him a mere 4 months to win another promotion.

Given Cai's predecessor was appointed to the decision-making politburo of the Communist Party, Cai is also expected to be given a seat in the powerful body.

Another Xinhua report said Environment Minister Chen Jining was appointed to replace Cai as acting Beijing mayor. Chen used to head Tsinghua University, Xi's alma mater.

Xi is believed to be stepping up efforts to strengthen his grip on power through these appointments, as he braces for the key party congress where a major reshuffle of China's leadership is expected.
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