Ta Kung Pao, a Beijing affiliated Hong Kong daily newspaper, reported that former Shanghai mayor Xu Kuangdi was shown on CCTV, China’s state television, on February 23, interacting closely with Xi Jinping during Xi’s visit to the Xiongan New Area.
CCTV‘s footage was not publicly released until this past weekend, when Beijing announced the planning and construction of the area, which is said to be part of the 1000-year plan that Xi set forth showcasing “world vision, international standards, Chinese characteristics, and high goals.”
Xu Kuangdi currently serves as the chief advisor for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration. He was mayor of Shanghai from 1995 to 2001, and supervised the city’s transformation into a center for international investment and trade with the establishment of the Pudong New District.
According to Radio Free Asia‘s commentator Paul Lin, he was asked to resign from the mayor’s position to make room for Chen Liangyu, a favorite of then Party secretary general Jiang Zemin. In 2006, Chen was disgraced because of corruption charges and dismissed from all positions including being a member of the Politburo.
Xu, who held several academic positions before becoming mayor of Shanghai, recommended that the construction of the Xiongan New Area should focus on technological and innovative industries and that the region should attract high-end innovative talent and resources. The new district covers the counties of Xiong, Rongcheng, and Anxin and is currently a poor, rural area. Xu said it was chosen because the “low density of its population, the low level of development, and plenty of space for future growth.”
Sources: Ta Kung Pao, April 4, 2017
Radio Free Asia, December 13, 2001