FTZ official removed, Xinhua says

Updated: 2014-09-16 07:27

(China Daily)

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FTZ official removed, Xinhua says

The entrance to the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Pudong New Area in Shanghai. The FTZ is under official and third-party evaluations before its first anniversary. REUTERS

Dai Haibo, deputy chief of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone's management committee, has been removed from his post because of alleged disciplinary violations, State media reported on Monday.

The Xinhua News Agency said that Dai "no longer serves as the Communist Party chief and executive deputy director of the administrative committee" of the FTZ.

The 52-year-old will remain deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai municipal government, Xinhua said. The report did not disclose the reason for Dai's removal from the FTZ post or other details.

FTZ official removed, Xinhua says

Dai Haibo, former deputy head of the Shanghai FTZ. CHINA DAILY

The administrative committee could not be reached for comment.

Dai has served as the deputy head of the Shanghai FTZ and was in charge of daily operations in the pilot zone since its official launch in September 2013.

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on Monday quoted five unidentified sources, including Shanghai government officials, as saying that Dai was suspected of disciplinary violations.

Observers said the concerns over Dai might be related to positions that he held before his FTZ role. "The Shanghai FTZ was under the spotlight of the entire country and the entire world. A rational man will not try to misbehave in the FTZ," the Economic Observer quoted an unidentified municipal government official as saying.

Dai's official resume showed that prior to his job at the FTZ, he served as the head of the State-owned developer Zhangjiang Group Co Ltd and as a senior official in the Pudong New Area government.

His most recent public appearance was at a port conference on Friday, but Dai's title as FTZ deputy chief was not used, which suggested that he had already been removed at that point.

The 21st Century Business Herald said an investigation into Dai's activities will focus on his "unusual number of properties".

Dai's removal came ahead of the first anniversary of the Shanghai FTZ, which raised concerns over the prospects of China's best-known reform pilot zone.

"He knows what needs to be done to welcome foreign funds, and he has a good command of economics and industries," the SCMP quoted an official with the Pudong government as saying. "His departure or sacking could somewhat slow progress in developing the free trade zone."

But the central government will not deny the achievements of the Shanghai FTZ over the past year. "Not in a million years," said the official with the municipal government, while adding that the reforms will proceed steadily as planned.

During last week's Summer Davos forum in Tianjin, Premier Li Keqiang said that it is time for another investigation trip to the Shanghai FTZ.

"Our schedule is to summarize on the first anniversary and make the Shanghai experience replicable for other places as well," said Li.

The Shanghai FTZ is undergoing official and third-party evaluations. The pilot zone was known for pioneering several financial reforms and broadening foreign companies' access to China's service sector over the past year, though many potential investors say the pledged liberalized regulatory framework has yet to materialize.

More than 10,000 businesses have registered in the zone, according to official data.

FTZ official removed, Xinhua says FTZ official removed, Xinhua says
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