Liao Guoxun, mayor of a major port city in northern China called Tianjin, died suddenly on Wednesday due to an undisclosed illness at the age of 59, Chinese media outlet Caixin Global reported on Friday.
“Liao, who was also a deputy [Communist Party] party chief of coastal city directly administered by China’s central government, passed away despite emergency rescue efforts,” Caixin Global reported on April 29, citing an April 28 Tianjin government statement.
Liao’s last public appearance took place on April 25, “when he attended a meeting on environmental protection in Tianjin, according to a local media report. Based on the video footage, Liao showed no obvious signs of deteriorating health,” Caixin Global reported.
Caixin Global is a Chinese media group headquartered in Beijing, the national capital of China. Tianjin is a municipality that borders Beijing to the southeast and is home to an estimated population of 13.9 million.
The China South Morning Post (SCMP) on April 29, he broadcast some of Liao’s latest public comments made on April 25 during his appearance at the Tianjin government’s anti-pollution meeting. The SCMP cited as a source an article dated April 26, Tianjin Dailywhich is the newspaper run by the municipality’s Communist Party.
“[We] should resolutely implement Xi Jinping’s thoughts on ecological civilization…and fight the battle for blue sky, clean water and land with greater determination, strong force and higher standards,” Liao told the forum.
He was referring to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who serves as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.
Tianjin state television broadcast segments of the anti-pollution conference on April 25 showing Liao alongside Tianjin Communist Party chief Li Hongzhong and other Party officials.
Liao on the morning of April 24 “presided over a municipal government meeting that reviewed a plan to promote employment,” according to the SCMP.
The Hong Kong-based newspaper provided some background on Liao’s personal and professional history, writing:
Liao was born in the southwestern province of Sichuan, but spent most of his life in neighboring Guizhou, where he became a high school teacher after graduating from a university in its provincial capital, Guiyang.
He began his political career in 1986, working in the organization department of the party committee in Kaili, a county-level city in Guizhou, before moving to the organization department of the provincial party committee in 1993.
In 2007, Liao became Tongren City’s deputy party chief, and was promoted to city party chief a decade later. His career accelerated in 2012 when he was appointed as a member of the standing committee and general secretary of the Guizhou Provincial Party Committee.
Liao served as mayor of Tianjin for a year and eight months before his death on April 26. The “sudden illness” that reportedly caused Liao’s death earlier this week remained undisclosed at press time on Friday. Tianjin recently suffered from an epidemic of the Chinese coronavirus that prompted the city to impose residential community lockdowns starting in January. Tianjin’s neighbor Beijing began implementing similar lockdowns on April 29 to contain its own new outbreak of the disease.