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Huang Qiang is known for his work on the navigation and fire control systems of the Xian JH-7. Photo:

Jet engineer Huang Qiang to take Jilin’s helm as China promotes tech-savvy leaders

  • Huang is one of a growing cohort of people with technological know-how taking on top Communist Party jobs
Fighter jet engineer Huang Qiang has been promoted to Communist Party boss of the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin in the latest reshuffle of regional party chiefs.

The 61-year-old was promoted from governor of Sichuan in the country’s southwest and replaces Jing Junhai, whose next position has not been announced.

The appointment came after the China’s highest decision-making body Politburo set ambitious economic and tech development goals for the next decade in a meeting on Thursday.
Over the past few years, China has named more scientists and engineers to key positions at the provincial level to sharpen its technological edge and counter the US-led technological squeeze.

The officials are expected to bring expertise in areas such as rocket science, nuclear power and environmental protection.

Huang belongs to a group of rising political stars with backgrounds in science and engineering.

Born in the eastern Zhejiang province, he is a senior engineer with a doctorate in management science and engineering from Northwestern Polytechnical University.

Huang’s career took off at Aviation Industry Corporation of China, where he held several technical and managerial positions. In 2008, Huang became the deputy director of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.

He is well known as a warplane designer, particularly for his work on the navigation and fire control systems of the Xian JH-7, a two-seater fighter-bomber nicknamed the “Flying Leopard”.

In 2014, Huang was promoted to deputy governor of Gansu province before taking up the same position in Henan province four years later, assuming responsibility for economic development and administrative efficiency. Over the past four years, Huang has served as the deputy party secretary of Sichuan.

Other new appointments announced on Friday include the transfer of Liang Yanshun, 61, to party secretary of eastern Anhui province, where he will succeed Han Jun, who will take over as party head of the agriculture ministry.

Liang has a doctorate in economics from the Central Party School and worked there for many years in administrative and research roles before going to Gansu province for two years from 2016 to head the propaganda and organisation departments.

In 2017, Liang returned to Beijing, taking on responsibilities for party building, united front work and propaganda for various central leading groups. From 2022 to 2024, Liang worked as the party secretary of Ningxia.

Meanwhile, Li Yifei, 60, was promoted to party chief of Ningxia, moving from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in the country’s west where he was deputy party boss.

Li, originally from Yunnan, has served in key positions across three provinces: Yunnan, Guizhou and Xinjiang.

In October 2021, Li was promoted to secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps party committee and was officially ranked as a senior leader, responsible for overseeing economic and social development.