Peking has named a new leader for the troubled southwestern province, Kweichow, bringing to six the number of provinces affected by a month-long, widening party shakeup.
An official radio broadcast from the Kweichow capital, Kweiyang, monitored here yesterday announced that Ma Li, a deputy party secretary in Hopei, a northern province, had become Kweichow's party governor and head military district commissar. Kweichow last year suffered severe production slowdowns and some party leaders there resisted the rise of new Communist Party Chairman Hua Kuo-feng even after Hua purged his main opponents in Peking in October.
The fate of the former Kweichow party leader, an army officer, Lu Juikin, is not known. He has not made a reported public appearance in the province in two years, although he has appeared in neighboring Yunnan province during that time in his capacity as a deputy commander of the regional army command.
Yunnan and another area bordering Kweichow, the Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region, have also gotton new party leaders in the last four weeks. The series of shifts, which has also brought new leaders to Heilung-Kiang in the northeast and Kiangsu and Chekiang in the southeast, appears to have increased the influence of two key politburo members, Wei Kuo-Ching and Hsu Shih-yu, throughout the entire southern half of China.
But the appointment of Ma in Kweichow seems to break the pattern by placing in the southwest an official with close links not to Wei and Hsu but to Chen Hsi-lien, the powerful regional commander of army troops in Peking, who is also a politburo member.
It was a favorite tactic of Hua's predecessors, Chairman Mao Tse-tung and Premier Chou En-lai, to balance such groups off against each other. Hua and his advisers in Peking may now be trying the same time-tested device.
China's southern provinces were the last to fall to the Communists in the civil war of the late 1930s and 1940s. Their distance from Peking and the Shaded provinces have had recent leadership shakeups, Cross-hatched provinces have no-resident leaders.
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relatively large number of minorities groups they include may make them more difficult to administer from Peking and explain why Wei and Hsu, the only two Politburo members based in the south, have been given such influence.
Wei, the party leader in Kwangtung province, which surrounds this British colony, has former subordinates and associates holding the top party posts in Yunnan, Kwangsi and the huge southwest province of Szechwan. Hsu, Canton regional army commander, is thought to be exerting unusual influence over the Nanking regional army command, whose present commander is in political eclipse and where Hsu once served for more than a decade.
The Nanking command oversees troops in Chekiang and Kiangsu, which have also recently changed party leaders.
The Kweiyang radio broadcast said a 3,000 person rally was held Saturday to convey "the important instruction and decision of Chairman Hua and the party Central Committee on the work of Kweichow." Only half a dozen localities have been the subject to such special instructions since October when Hua purged party dogmatists in Peking, including Mao's widow, whom Hua blames for China's political troubles.
The broadcast said since Mao's widow, Chiang Ching, and her "gang of four" had been toppled, "Kwwichow has great prospects. Of course, there is still a lot of work to do to make it develop quicker."
The past month's party shakeup leaves only two provinces without resident first secretaries: Hunan, where Hua still maintains his title as local party leader, and Tsinghai in the far west, led by an army officer who holds the title of second secretary.