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Xi Jinping Security Protege To Bolster China’s Coronavirus Task Force

February 08 Banepa.

Beijing has sent a protégé of President Xi Jinping and a senior health official to the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak, raising the political profile of its crisis response as handling of the outbreak and the death of a whistle-blower doctor erode public trust in the authorities.

Chen Yixin, secretary general of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, the Communist Party’s top law enforcement body, will be added to the national team overseeing handling of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, according to Taoran Notes, a social media account affiliated.

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Chen’s appointment was designed to bolster the frontline team working to contain the outbreak, the report said.

National Health Commission deputy director Wang Hejun had also been sent to Wuhan, joining the provincial party standing committee, the official Hubei Daily reported on Saturday.

Wang was also the propaganda chief of the northern municipality of Tianjin for two years.

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Chen’s security background might help Beijing coordinate its response to the outbreak and ensure social stability, according to Wuhan University law professor Qin Qianhong.

“The fight against the outbreak now requires more coordination with the military and police force, and Chen’s background might be useful. And he used to be [Wuhan’s] party chief,” Qin said.

“The social stability consideration is also obvious. Resentment among patients, their family and people’s lives affected by the virus and the city’s lockdown status is building.”

Qin said Chen was known as a good public speaker, and for being decisive and energetic. But he was not remembered in Wuhan for any major achievements, given that he was there for just two years, Qin added.

Chen’s official resume indicates that he is one of Xi’s long-time proteges and an expert on maintaining social stability.

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