January 6, 2020 / 4:46 AM / 15 days ago

Factbox: Key facts about new head of China's liaison office in Hong Kong

Newly appointed head of Hong Kong Liaison Office Luo Huining speaks to media to mark his first day at office in Hong Kong, China January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

BEIJING (Reuters) - Luo Huining, 65, has been named the head of the Hong Kong Liaison Office, the most senior mainland political official based in the Chinese-controlled territory, following more than six months of anti-government protests there.

He replaced Wang Zhimin, who had held the post since 2017.

Following are some key facts about Luo.

- Luo, who is known for enforcing Communist Party discipline, is the first Liaison Office director to have never held a Hong Kong-related position. He is also at an age when top Chinese officials typically retire. The Office, which reports to China’s State Council, or cabinet, serves as Beijing’s platform to project influence in the city and has come in for criticism in Hong Kong and mainland China for misjudging the situation in the city.

- Luo’s appointment comes less than a month after he was given a different job, in the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the national legislature.

- From 2016 to November last year, Luo was the top party official in the northern province of Shanxi, where he was tasked with cleaning up a graft-ridden, coal-rich region where corruption was once likened to cancer.

- Shanxi benefited from “all-out efforts to enforce Party discipline”, according to a piece Luo wrote in the official People’s Daily in 2017. The people of Shanxi felt the disciplinary efforts were “like spring rain washing away the smog”, he said.

- Luo was previously party boss of the western province of Qinghai. His first job was as a steel worker in the eastern province of Anhui in the 1970s. He has a doctorate in economics.

Reporting by Liangping Gao and Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Robert Birsel

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