By Wang Huazhong
Among the new lineup of senior Communist Party of China officials from 25 provincial-level regions unveiled so far, more than a quarter holds a doctorate, according to public information available on official websites.
There are 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the Chinese mainland, and each of them has a standing Party committee with a secretary as its leader. The Party secretary is also the top official in the provincial-level region.
The provincial-level standing committee of the Party is reshuffled every five years. The current reshuffle of all 31 committees needs to be finished before the 18th National Congress of the CPC, which is scheduled for the second half of this year.
So far, provincial-level Party congresses of 25 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have elected 327 standing committee members, according to China Daily research based on official information. Ninety, or 27.5 percent, hold doctorates.
Most noticeably, the Party congress in the Tianjin municipality on Saturday unveiled a 13-member standing committee featuring seven doctors, holding degrees in management, economy, law and culture.
The remaining six provincial-level regions on the mainland will finish reshuffling in two months.
Officials holding a master's degree make up the largest part of the core decision-making bodies.
"Undoubtedly, the trend is that more senior degree holders from top universities will bring their expertise into management," said Wang Guixiu, a professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC.
"I feel happy that there are so many master's degrees and doctorates among the Party leadership. I hope they can live up to expectations," said Zhao Xin, a middle school teacher in Beijing.
Fields of study span a wide spectrum from crop-planting and state-of-the-art computing to technology-intense laser physics, according to the resumes of elected local Party leaders.
Many of the leaders with doctorates also give lectures in universities or conduct research in institutes.
Li Xiuling, 50, a standing member in charge of organization and staff affairs of the Hainan Party committee, was an associate professor of history at Nanjing University in the 1980s and 1990s.
Sun Zhengcai, 49, Party secretary of Jilin province, once worked as a researcher at Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, and was the chief editor of the book Research on Corn Growing in 50 Years.
Sun apparently has benefited from his strong background in a province that is a major producer of grains.
The new lineup also includes a percentage of relatively young leaders.
Three Party bosses of the 25 provincial-level regions were born since 1960 and are aged 52 or under.
Ten out of the 53 deputy Party secretaries were born in the 1960s.
So far, the standing Party committees of Guizhou province, as well as Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Tibet autonomous regions, have the largest number of leaders who were born since 1960 — seven each. Normally, a provincial standing committee only retains 12 or 13 leaders.
Liang Yanhui, another professor at the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC, said the rising number of leaders born in the 1960s will mean an increase in innovative ideas.