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Party names new UFW department head

Mixed reactions to Ling Jihua's appointment on eve of party's National Congress

Ling Jihua Ling Jihua
  • China
  • September 6, 2012
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The Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee named Ling Jihua, 56, as new head of the United Front Work Department.

A close ally of President Hu Jintao, Ling was previously director of the General Office of the Central Committee, which oversees the daily affairs of the party. His new appointment was announced on Saturday.

As head of the  United Front Work Department, his remit will include overseeing religious affairs. As such, his appointment may affect the case of Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin of Shanghai.

The appointment, which comes ahead of the party's National Congress next month during which China's next batch of top leaders will be announced,  met with mixed reactions from Catholics. “The impact of this personnel change is yet to be seen,” said a priest who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some Catholic bloggers and clergy think no matter who becomes the head, the party’s attitude will remain the same. Policies and decisions related to the Church are not decided by one faction of the party, they say.

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