BEIJING, SEPT. 1 -- Wang Zhaoguo, once the fastest rising star in Chinese politics, has been demoted to work in the provinces, it was disclosed today.
The official New China News Agency said Wang, 46, was appointed vice governor and acting governor of coastal Fujian Province, more than 1,000 miles south of Beijing.
The news agency gave no official reason for the decision to send Wang into what appears to be political exile.
It appeared that Wang would be ousted from the Communist Party Central Committee Secretariat, a key 11-member body in charge of the country's day-to-day affairs.
The initial impression was that this was a victory for conservative, or traditionalist, party leaders who are battling with more reform-minded officials over leadership changes to be decided before a party congress scheduled for late October.
Wang is considered a reformist, a member of a loose coalition of leaders who favor more rapid economic changes than the conservatives.
Some sources said Wang may have incurred the wrath of conservative, elderly party leaders when, in early 1986, he helped to lead a drive against corruption.
The anticorruption drive targeted the sons and daughters of several high-ranking party officials accused of taking advantage of their fathers' positions to enrich themselves illegally. But the drive ended inconclusively after encountering strong resistance within the party.
Wang had been a protege both of the country's senior leader, Deng Xiaoping, and of former party chief Hu Yaobang, who was forced from office in January. Without Hu's protection, Wang may have become politically vulnerable.
Western and Asian diplomats have speculated that Wang's performance has been less than impressive. Some Chinese said Wang was promoted too quickly to develop a network of support to protect himself.
The bespectacled, boyish-looking Wang, deputy manager of a truck factory in Wuhan, quickly received senior posts in Beijing after attracting Deng's attention in 1980.