Wen Jiabao

Wen Jiabao

Infobox President
name = Wen Jiabao

order = Premier of the People's Republic of China
president = Hu Jintao
deputy = Li Keqiang
term_start = 16 March 2003
term_end =
predecessor = Zhu Rongji
successor =
birth_date = birth date and age|1942|09|15|mf=y
birth_place = Beichen, Tianjin, China
death_date =
death_place =
spouse = Zhang Peili
party = Communist Party of China
alma_mater = China University of Geosciences
profession = Geologist
:"This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wen."

Wen Jiabao (zh-stpw |s=温家宝 |t=溫家寶 |p=Wēn Jiābǎo |w=Wen Chia-pao) (born 15 September 1942) is the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, leading the country's cabinet. He also serves as a member of its Leading Party Members' Group and Secretary of the Financial Work Committee of the CPC Central Committee. Since taking office in 2003, Wen, ranked third in the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China hierarchy, has been a key part of the fourth generation of leadership in the Communist Party of China.

Wen, having been dubbed "the people's premier" [ [http://in.rediff.com/news/2008/mar/16china.htm Wen Jiabao re-elected Chinese Premier] ] , has a commoner image with the public that separates him from the rest of China's power elite. Considered modest and approachable, Wen's populist approach to policy and his visible public persona has made him a very popular figure within China.

Rise to power

A native of Tianjin, Wen Jiabao went to the famous Nankai High School from which his predecessor premier Zhou Enlai graduated. He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in April 1965 and began working in September 1967.

A postgraduate and engineer, Wen graduated from the specialty of geological structure of Beijing Institute of Geology. Having studied geomechanics in Beijing, he began his career in the Gansu geology bureau; from 1968-1978, he presided over the Geomechanics Survey Team under the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and head of its political section. Rising as chief of the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and later as Vice-minister of Geology and Mineral Resources, Wen would rise through the ranks of the Central Committee and Politburo in the 1980s and 1990s. Wen's move from Gansu to Beijing occurred while the party, then under the leadership of General Secretary Hu Yaobang, was conducting a talent search; Wen was quickly appointed to serve as the deputy in the Party's General Office. He remained in the post for eight years.

Wen Jiabao is the only Director of the Party's General Office to have served under three general secretaries: Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang, and Jiang Zemin [ [http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2003-03/18/content_785809.htm ::温式微笑将给中国带来什么?温家宝的中国命题:: ] ] . A political survivor, his most significant recovery was after 1989, when Wen was the head assistant to General Secretary Zhao Ziyang. He accompanied Zhao to see demonstrating students in Tiananmen Square. Zhao was purged from the party days later for "grave insubordination" and lived under house arrest in Beijing until his death in January 2005. Unlike his mentor, Wen was able to politically survive the aftermath of the demonstrations.

During a political career dating back to 1965, Wen has built a network of patrons. During that time Wen, a strong administrator and technocrat, has earned a reputation for meticulousness, competence, and a focus on tangible results. Outgoing Premier Zhu Rongji showed his esteem for Wen by entrusting him, from 1998, with the task of overseeing agricultural, financial and environmental policies, considered crucial as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization. Wen served as Secretary of the Central Financial Work Commission from 1998 to 2002.

First-term Premiership

Wen has been the third-ranking member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's highest ruling council, since November 2002. During the transition of power as Hu Jintao assumed the presidency in March 2003, Wen Jiabao's nomination as premier was confirmed by the National People's Congress with over 99% of the delegates' vote. As premier, Wen has overseen China's economic reforms and has been involved in shifting national goals from economic growth at all costs to growth which also emphasizes more egalitarian wealth, along with other social goals, such as public health and education. In addition, the Chinese government under Wen has begun to focus on the social costs of economic development, which include damage to the environment and to workers' health. This more comprehensive definition of development has been encapsulated into the idea of a xiaokang society.

Wen's broad range of experience and expertise, especially cultivated while presiding over agricultural policies under Zhu Rongji has been important as the "fourth generation" seeks to revitalize the rural economy in regions left out by the past two decades of reform.

Initially regarded as quiet and unassuming, he is said to be a good communicator and is known as a "man of the people." Wen has appeared to make great efforts to reach out those who seem left out by two decades of stunning economic growth in rural and especially western China. Unlike Jiang Zemin and his protégés on the Politburo Standing Committee, who form the so-called "Shanghai clique", both Wen and Hu hail from, and have cultivated their political bases in the vast Chinese interior. Many have noted the contrasts between Wen and Hu, "men of the people" and Jiang Zemin, the flamboyant, multilingual, and urbane former mayor of the country's most cosmopolitan city. Jiang, unlike the more reserved Hu and Wen, is known to quote maxims from Chinese and Western philosophy and recite poetry in many languages.

Like President Hu Jintao, whose purportedFact|date=April 2007 brilliance and photographic memory have facilitated his meteoric rise to powerFact|date=April 2007, Wen is regardedFact|date=April 2007 as well-equipped to preside over a vast bureaucracy in the world's most populated and perhaps rapidly changing nation. In March 2003, the usually self-effacingFact|date=May 2008 Wen was quoted as saying, "The former Swiss ambassador to China once said that my brain is like a computer", he said. "Indeed, many statistics are stored in my brain."Fact|date=May 2008

Mild-tempered and conciliatory, especially compared to his predecessor, the tough, straight-talking Zhu Rongji, his consensual management style has enabled him to generate a great deal of good will and little hostility in BeijingFact|date=May 2008. Although noticeably, Wen has been widely known to have been in conflict with then-Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu, who disagreed with the central government's policiesFact|date=May 2008.

Wen has been involved in a two major episodes involving public health. In early 2003, he was involved in ending the official inaction over the SARS crisis. In November 2003, he became the first major Chinese official to publicly address the problem of AIDS, which has devastated parts of the provinces of Yunnan and Henan and threatens to be a major burden on Chinese development. Since May 2004, Wen made various visits to communities devastated by AIDS, trips shown prominently on national media. By showing these actions, Wen displayed an effort to reverse years of what many activists have described as a policy of denial and inaction. Furthermore, Wen is concerned about the health and safety of previous drug addicts; since March 2004, Wen had visited several drug addict treatment facilities in southern China and addressed the issue to the patients in person, recognizing that AIDS in the region is more likely being spread by drug abuse and the reuse of hypodermic syringes than by sexual contact.

Wen's many visits to relatively poor areas of China's countryside were conducted randomlyFact|date=May 2008 -- to avoid elaborate preparations to appease officials and hide the real situation, which is done often in China. At committee meetings of the State Council, Wen made it clear that the rural wealth problem must be addressed. Along with President Hu Jintao, the "Three Rural Issues" of agriculture, rural areas, and farmers were highlighted as areas that need work and development. The Hu-Wen administration abolished the thousand-year-old agricultural tax entirely in 2005, a bold move that significantly changed the rural economic model. Like his predecessor, Zhu Rongji, Wen is generally seen as a popular communist official with the Chinese public. His attitude is seemingly sincere and warm, triggering comparisons with former premier Zhou Enlai. Wen spent Chinese New Year in 2005 with a group of coal miners in a Shanxi coal mine. To many, Wen's image is the "people's premier", a populist, and an ordinary Chinese citizen who knows and understands ordinary people's needs [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/simp/hi/newsid_6410000/newsid_6418800/6418883.stm BBC: 透视中国:官员的施政个性] ] . In an annual meeting of the Chinese Authors Association, Wen spoke for over two hours to the delegates without looking at any script. To foreign media, Wen also remains the highest government figure in China to give free press conferences, often facing politically sensitive and difficult questions regarding subjects such as Taiwan Independence, Tibet and human rights.

Wen is also seen by manyFact|date=April 2007 as an able diplomat. In December 2003, Wen visited the United States of America for the first time. During the trip, Wen was able to get President George W. Bush to issue what many saw as a mild rebuke to the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Chen Shui-bian. Wen has also been on visits to Canada and Australia, mostly on economic issues.

On 15 March 2005, after the anti-secession law was passed, by a majority of 2,896 to nil, with two abstentions by the National People's Congress, Wen famously said: "We don't wish for foreign intervention, but we are not afraid of it." as an allusion to the United States' stance on Taiwan. That earned him a long round of applause that was rare even by Chinese standards.

On 5 March 2007, Wen announced plans to increase the military budget. By the end of 2007 the military budget rose to 17.8 percent compared to the previous year's 45 billion dollars. These actions have created tension with the United States. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070305/ts_afp/chinacongressnpc_070305190447 Budget Increase] ]

There were rumours about Wen's retirement and reputed clashes with former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu before the party's 17th Party Congress. Some sources suggested that Wen would ask to retire due to fatigue. Ultimately, Wen stayed on the Premier job, and was responsible for the drafting of the important speech delivered by President Hu Jintao outlining China's direction in the next five years.

In January 2008, while China was undergoing severe snowstorms, Premier Wen made his way south and visited train stations in Changsha and Guangzhou, addressing the public while calming their anger for long train waits.

econd-term Premiership

Premier Wen Jiabao was appointed to a second five-year term as China's premier 16 March 2008, leading efforts to cool soaring inflation and showcase the country to the world at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He received fewer votes in favour than he did in 2003, a sign that the premiership can create enemies, even in the communist political system. Wen faces grave economic challenges as the world becomes increasingly affected by the U.S. economic crisis. Social stability and regional activism such as violence in Tibet are also require major concentration in policy. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/03/16/china.politics.ap/index.html Wen gets second term as China's premier] ] On 18 March 2008, during the press conference after the 2008 National People's Congress, Premier Wen blamed supporters of the Dalai Lama for violence in Tibet, and said Chinese forces exercised restraint in confronting unrest there. [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/03/18/tibet.unrest/index.html Dalai Lama 'to resign' if violence worsens] ] Wen was the spokesman of the Chinese government during the 2008 unrest in Tibet and refused to negotiate with the Dalai Lama and his followers, unless they chose to give up all separatist activities.

Response to Earthquake

Premier Wen Jiabao's popularity increased even more when he went to the disaster area of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake a mere few hours after the disaster occurred. He was named the Executive Director of the Earthquake Relief Efforts Committee immediately following the disaster. Following his visits to the area and images of the Premier displayed on national media, numerous videos popped up on Chinese blogs making comparisons with former Premier Zhou Enlai, who also had the title "People's Premier". Wen's popularity was noticeably boosted. When China's leaders are often shown on state television looking rather stiff and sitting motionlessly, Wen's on-site image and candid nature has attracted a large popular following of Chinese citizens [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/05/16/asia/AS-GEN-China-Earthquake-Hero-Premier.php IHT: China's 'Grandpa Wen' widely admired for work to rally victims in hard-hit earthquake areas] ] .

Wen also has a Facebook profile, whose authorship is unknown, that has gathered more popular support than any other non-American leader on the social networking site. Wen was the only non-American among the top five most popular politicians on Facebook before his profile was deleted by Facebook sometime around 16 June 2008 (it has since been restored, with no major changes). Despite Wen's constant presence on the national media that seems to overshadow that of his superior, Hu Jintao, there are no clear divisions between the leaders. A group of intellectuals have warned against Wen's populist approach, claiming it will affect China's economic development. [ [http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displayStory.cfm?story_id=11541327 The Economist: Populist Politics in China] Retrieved June 2008]

Political views

There is some dispute inside China as well as in the Hong Kong and Taiwan journalistic circles regarding the political views of Wen Jiabao. Because he appears more often than President Hu Jintao in front of the press, Wen's viewpoints, although difficult to gauge in their entirety, are easier to discern than those of Hu. Generally media both inside and outside China credit Wen as "populist" and in touch with the needs of ordinary people. On most social issues Wen seems to be moderate, with his brand of policies based around societal harmony as prescribed by the Scientific Development Concept, the leading ideology of the administration.

It is also not clear what are Wen's views on the subject of political reform. He has remarked that "the socialist system will continue in China for the next 100 years" [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/28/wchina28.xml China promises socialism for 100 years] Richard Spencer, The Daily Telegraph] , although later in a Press Conference at the 2007 National People's Congress, he stated that "democracy is one of the basic goals of the socialist system". Wen, a former ally of disgraced Premier Zhao Ziyang, is likely supportive of the latter's political rehabilitation. However, thus far Wen has stuck to script and rarely mentions Zhao.

On the subject of Taiwan, Wen reputedly believes in gradual negotiations. Xinhua has published articles in early 2007 with Wen's name separately attributed in several articles on the direction of national development. This was suspected as a sign that Wen has some differing viewpoints to the official party line. In September 2007 Wen composed a poem on a national newspaper, subtly introducing his romantic perception about China's future development, a move lauded by overseas media.

tate Council Administration

Wen leads the current State Council, China's cabinet.


Talking about Chinese fast economic growth and social justice and fairness Wen Jiabao said: "The speed of the fleet is not determined by the fastest vessel; rather it is determined by the slowest one." [Joseph Kahn, [http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/16/news/beijing.php China isn't looking to replace U.S., prime minister says] , The International Herald Tribune, 16 March 2007]


ee also

* Politics of the People's Republic of China
* History of the People's Republic of China (2002-present)
* Hu-Wen Administration

External links

* [http://www.facebook.com/pages/-Wen-Jia-bao/13823116911 Wen Jiabao] at Facebook
* [http://www.chinavitae.com/biography_display.php?id=21 Wen Jiabao biography @ China Vitae, the web's largest online database of China VIPs]
* [http://www.theage.com.au/news/in-depth/who-is-wen-jiabao/2006/03/31/1143441317921.html The Age - Who is Wen Jiabao?]
* [http://pronounce.name/pronunciation/d83/Wen_Jiabao How to pronounce Wen Jiabao]
* [http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=142111 Wen says China's reforms irreversible]

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