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HomeBusinessChina appoints ex-governor as finance minister amid Xi's ongoing shake-up.

China appoints ex-governor as finance minister amid Xi’s ongoing shake-up.

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Lan Fo’an, a former provincial governor and experienced official, is expected to be appointed as China’s new finance minister, signaling a continuation of President Xi Jinping’s economic policy team overhaul. Lan’s appointment comes as institutions like the People’s Bank of China and the National Development and Reform Commission have also experienced leadership changes this year. This consolidation of power has led to concerns about increased centralization and reduced transparency under President Xi. However, Lan’s role as finance minister may be constrained, as decision-making in policy initiatives has become more centralized, leaving him little room for independent design.

Lan faces significant challenges as he takes on the position of finance minister. The ministry is under pressure to revive China’s struggling economy, burdened by soaring local government debt and a wave of real estate defaults. Additionally, the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions has not delivered the expected boost to economic activity. People familiar with the finance ministry suggest that Lan will have limited autonomy in shaping policies, as decision-making power has been concentrated. His role will primarily involve executing the directives given to him by his superiors.

Lan’s selection for the position is partly attributed to his connection with Liu Kun, the previous finance minister. Lan and Liu previously worked together at the Guangdong Finance Bureau in the 2000s, and Liu played a critical role in choosing his successor. According to insiders, Lan possesses both the expertise and the trust of top leadership required for advancement in China’s current political landscape.

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