Who is Chen Yixin, Xi’s newly appointed state security minister?

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A little more than a week after drawing curtains on the 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress, President Xi Jinping is still making moves to have the perfect and the most loyal group of yes-men surrounding him.  

Reportedly, Xi has named Chen Yixin, 63, as the new minister of state security. Chen has been a close confidant of Xi and has always been given the most challenging job profiles. 

In early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was still in its infancy, Chen was dispatched to Wuhan to contain the outbreak and also handle the heat from international media, following the death of Dr Li Wenliang.

As per metrics set by Xi, Chen managed to perform adequately and was soon ordered to lead an anti-corruption campaign across the country to tighten the country’s law enforcement and security apparatus. 

Read more: Chen Quanguo, architect of the ‘Uyghur genocide’, ousted from China’s top leadership body

Xi appointing Chen as the new state security minister also stems from their Zhejiang connection. Xi was CPC’s Zhejiang province chief in 2002 when the two first crossed paths. 

Chen was the deputy director of the party’s general office and it was there that the two forged a mutually beneficial working arrangement. 

Read more: Xi’s new military appointment can spark a crisis with US-Taiwan: Reports

When Xi left for Shanghai to pursue his national-level goals, Chen was also elevated to party chief of the cities of Jinhua and Wenzhou.

As reported by WION, this is not the first instance of Xi using his Zhejiang connection to place his trusted allies on the top party positions. 

CPC’s Shanghai chief Li Qiang who has been anointed as the next premier of the country also managed to leapfrog other much-qualified candidates, solely because of his personal history with Xi. 

Read more: Li Qiang, the man poised to become China’s next premier

Xi is extremely conservative when it comes to who makes his inner circle. And Li and Chen have been one of the few men that have followed him for the majority of his life. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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