China's youngest mayor questioned

The youngest mayor in China is now believed to be Zhou Senfeng (周森峰).

The newly elected mayor is only 29 years old. His resume shows the rapid promotion he got in the past 5 years. Right after he graduated from Qinghua University, one of the best colleges in China, he was appointed to be the deputy director of the Construction Committee in Xiangfan, a city in Hubei province. A position many people can only dream of in their thirties, it started Zhou's rocketing promotion, that finally leads him to be the mayor of YiCheng (宜城).

This time, the People's Congress of Yicheng unanimously voted him the mayor, which is another shocking fact. A member in the congress said it was unprecedented. His mysterious promotion, therefore, has become the topic of the heated debate on the internet.

A denial of interview and public concern

A broadcast scription reads:


After Zhou was promoted to be the youngest mayor in China, medias floods in to request interviews with the new political star. But all the requests were denied by the Publicity Department in Yicheng. The head of the department said Zhou is quite down-to-earth and low-profile, and doesn't want too much public attention. A staff told that the officals have ordered that no one should take interviews without approval.

Meanwhile, none of Zhou's colleagues has given any information about the young mayor in his previous posts.

A short path to power
Three years after graduation, Zhou has been promoted to be the vice bureau chief, which is the second position he took. In the following two years, he was promoted for totally 5 times.

An editorial cited by the official media, People's Daily, posed a question on Zhou's rapid promotion. The writer questioned whether the quick promotion violates the CCP regualtions about the procedure of cadre promotion.

Zhou Pengan, the blogger, writes:

再来看看中共中央关于《党政领导干部选拔任用条例》相关条款的规定。《党政领导干部选拔任用条例》第七条第一款规定, 提任县(处)级领导职务的,应当具有五年以上工龄和两年以上基层工作经历。

Let's check the relative provisions in ‘Regulations on promotion and appointment of CCP cadres’. The 7th term says that, in order to be a division chief, the candidate must have five years’ standing on service and more than two years’ experience in grass-root level.


His resume told us, however, since he joined the workforce in July 2004, he has not yet served for 5 years and he lacks the two-year grassroots experience.

Justice-Blade echoed the question on


I believe there are talents among scientists, artiest and scholars. But in a mature political system, there is none.

Questioning whether Zhou has special family background that brings him to the position, netizens launched Flesh Search Engine in an attempt to find out the truth. Typing in Zhou Senfeng in Baidu, relative terms such as Zhou Senfeng's father, Zhou Senfeng's wife immediately show up, which indicates that millions of people have already tried to find out about his family.

Zhou's father was the first focus. ‘Who is Zhou's father’ became a question frequently seen on the internet. Netizens soon discovered a “suspect”. On around 23, June, the name Zhou Gengyan floated on the internet. According to his public resume, Zhou Gengyan is now the CCP's first secretary of YuZhou, head of the city.

However, official media across the country soon published a story about Zhou's family, claiming that his father is actually a normal worker and his mother a farmer.

The report said:


The journalist has talked with many people before he could find Zhou's aunt in the town who runs a photograph shop. ‘We have seen the news that SenFeng was elected mayor on the internet. The boy gets so promising a future.’ his aunt said with delight, ‘Actually he is also from a poor family.’

The report, furthermore, depicted Zhou's home as the worst in the town. His father was said to be working in a porcelain plant for living. Moreover, there are netizens questioning that, if Zhou's father is now only the head of a city, he has no way to promote his son to the same level so quickly.

The contradicting versions about Zhou's family lead netizens to question about Zhou's wife. She was first exposed to be the deputy director of the city congress. But again, she was found to be only the head of a subcomittee. Zhou's father-in-law, who is said to be unemployed now has nothing special as well.

Umbrella and research paper
The official statement told that ‘his appointment coincided with the government's campaign to foster more young cadres.’ He just took well of the chance and earned his own way in the political sphere.

However, it is not too convincing a statement. In China, it is unbelievable that a person without network can rise up so quickly. It is the belief of the most that there must be something going under the table. Driven by the questions, suspicion and distrust, netizens keep on their fight for truth.

Zhou is now facing the attention from across the country. In, a special post-zone(贴吧)was set for people to discuss about the youthful mayor. More facts about his have been dug out.

Blogger Zhao Dahua said in his post ‘Zhou, can't you hold the umbrella yourself?':


Thanks to the internet, as soon sa the news about Zhou spreads across, people found pictures showing his attendants holding an umbrella for him. The rain was not at all heavy and there were only a few people. Zhou stood there with his hands on the back, watching the field under the umbrella held by his subordinate. People compare the picture with those of Premier Wen, Bush, and Putin who held umbrella themselves in the rain. People were upset to see Zhou's haughty manner.

Moreover, people discovered that one of Zhou's postgraduate papers plagiarized the paper of another scholar. The paper is about real estate studies, which is the major research topic of Zhou's post-graduate study. 木有下文 writes in his post which is widely cited on the internet:


So I downloaded the two papers with doubt. By comparison, I found that quite a few paragraphs are exactly the same, and some paragraphs have only a few words in difference, while with the same argument. Zhou gives no citation either. Thoroughly, I think it plagiarizes the other for more than 50%.

The blogger then cited the similar paragraphs in the two papers. Qinghua University has started checking the paper but not yet given any response.

Unlucky Man?
Zhou, as the youngest mayor, is thought to be by some people just an unlucky person. It should have been exciting to hear young men promoted to the leadership. In response to such comments on the internet, Blogger Chenyunx replied in his post ‘Why do we have to question about Mayor Zhou.’


It is good for the city to introduce in young people with master and even doctor degree. But how many people were introduced in? How many people were promoted? Has there been any public examination and cautious assessment before Zhou was appointed to be the chief director of the Construction Committee? Was there any procedure for Zhou to be promoted? Is there any evidence to prove that Zhou is capable for the position of mayor? Any past achievements? We have to ask about it. His career and policies would affect thousands of people in Yicheng. How can't we be cautious?


We need check and balance on those powerful and aggresive officials. Otherwise, power without constrain only makes bitter fruits. We need no blind support and trust. We need to be alerted and suspicious of those powerful cadres. We need to alert them and let them feel that if they did anything wrong they would be punished. So they will be more cautious and do their job better.


If he can't even face the questions of netizens, what qualifies him to administrate the thousands of people?


The democracy of China is destined to start online. So, let more questions come!


  • Wahaha,

    You are an activisit for democracy, please explain the following questions :

    1) Why in democratic and developing countries, people who lived in slums 10, 20 years ago are stilling living in slums ?

    2) Why do people in \free world\ protest for using the money of their children and grandchildren ?

    3) Does it sound right to you that in \free world\ there has been no conflict between ordinary people and the rich who benefit most from the the system ?

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.