Wen Jiabao

Wen Jiabao

Overview
Wen Jiabao is the sixth and current Premier
Premier of the People's Republic of China
The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , sometimes also referred to as the "Prime Minister" informally, is the Leader of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , who is the head of government and holds the highest-ranking of the Civil service of the...

 and Party secretary
Party chief of the Communist Party of China
In the Politics of the People's Republic of China, a party chief , variously called a party boss, and officially termed the Communist Party Committee Secretary for a certain region, is the leader of the local Communist Party of China division, and in most cases, the de facto first-in-charge of its...

 of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
State Council of the People's Republic of China
The State Council of the People's Republic of China , which is largely synonymous with the Central People's Government after 1954, is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the Premier and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency...

, serving as China's head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 and leading its cabinet. In his capacity as Premier, Wen is regarded as the leading figure behind China's economic policy. He also holds membership in the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

, the country's de facto top power organ, where he is ranked third out of nine members.

Wen has a professional background in geology and engineering.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Wen Jiabao'
Start a new discussion about 'Wen Jiabao'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Wen Jiabao is the sixth and current Premier
Premier of the People's Republic of China
The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , sometimes also referred to as the "Prime Minister" informally, is the Leader of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , who is the head of government and holds the highest-ranking of the Civil service of the...

 and Party secretary
Party chief of the Communist Party of China
In the Politics of the People's Republic of China, a party chief , variously called a party boss, and officially termed the Communist Party Committee Secretary for a certain region, is the leader of the local Communist Party of China division, and in most cases, the de facto first-in-charge of its...

 of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
State Council of the People's Republic of China
The State Council of the People's Republic of China , which is largely synonymous with the Central People's Government after 1954, is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the Premier and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency...

, serving as China's head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 and leading its cabinet. In his capacity as Premier, Wen is regarded as the leading figure behind China's economic policy. He also holds membership in the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

, the country's de facto top power organ, where he is ranked third out of nine members.

Wen has a professional background in geology and engineering. He holds a postgraduate degree from the Beijing Institute of Geology, where he graduated in 1968. He was subsequently sent to Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

 province for geological work, and remained in China's hinterland regions during his climb up the bureaucratic ladder. He was transferred to Beijing to work as the Chief of the Party General Office between 1986 and 1993, and accompanied General Secretary Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

 to Tiananmen Square during the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests. In 1998, he was promoted to the post of Vice Premier under Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

, his mentor, and oversaw the broad portfolios of agriculture and finance.

Since taking office as Premier in 2003, Wen, along with President Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

, has been a key part of the fourth generation of leadership
Generations of Chinese leadership
Because both the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army promote according to seniority, it is possible to discern distinct generations of Chinese leadership...

 in the Communist Party of China. Soft-spoken and known for his strong work ethic, Wen has been one of the most visible members of the incumbent Chinese administration, and has been dubbed "the people's premier" by both domestic and foreign media.

Described as having a commoner background and a populist approach to policy, Wen's domestic agenda marked a considerable shift from the previous administration. Instead of concentrating on GDP growth in large cities and rich coastal areas, Wen advocated for a more balanced approach in developing China's hinterland regions, and advancing policies considered more favourable towards farmers and migrant workers. Internationally, Wen played a key role in China's response to the global financial crisis and subsequent stimulus program.

Early life and rise to power


A native of Beichen
Beichen District
Beichen District was originally a suburban district of Tianjin city. Before June 1992, the district was named Beijiao District which means North Suburb. As the city expanded, it was generally regarded as a new metropolitan area. Hence the change of name.The district occupies approximately 478.5...

, Tianjin City, Wen Jiabao went to the Nankai High School from which his predecessor premier Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 graduated. He joined the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 (CPC) in April 1965 and entered the work force in September 1967.

Wen has a background in engineering and holds a post-graduate degree from the Beijing Institute of Geology. He studied geomechanics
Geomechanics
Geomechanics is the geologic study of the behavior of soil and rock. The two main disciplines of geomechanics are soil mechanics and rock mechanics. The former deals with the behaviour of soil from a small scale to a landslide scale...

 in Beijing and began his career in the geology bureau of Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

 province. From 1968–1978, he presided over the Geomechanics Survey Team under the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and head of its political section. Wen succeeded in office, rising as chief of the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and later as Vice-minister of Geology and Mineral Resources.

Wen was "discovered" by then-General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

 Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang was a leader of the People's Republic of China who served as both Chairman and Party General Secretary. Hu joined the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930s, and rose to prominence as a comrade of Deng Xiaoping...

, and joined the ranks of the Central Committee and Politburo. There was some public speculation after 1989 over whether Wen was closer to Hu Yaobang or Zhao Ziyang, but Wen implicitly confirmed that he was a protege of Hu by the release of his 2010 article, "Recalling Hu Yaobang when I return to Xingyi". After Wen was promoted to work in Beijing, he served as director of the Party's General Affairs Office, an organ that oversaw day-to-day operations of the party's leaders. He remained in the post for eight years.

Wen has built a network of patronage during his career. Throughout this period Wen was said to be a strong administrator and technocrat, having earned a reputation for meticulousness, competence, and a focus on tangible results. Outgoing Premier Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

 showed his esteem for Wen by entrusting him from 1998 with the task of overseeing agricultural, financial and environmental policies in the office of Vice-Premier, considered crucial as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

. Wen served as Secretary of the Central Financial Work Commission
Central Financial Work Commission
The Central Financial Work Commission was created in 1998 to supervise the Chinese financial system on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party and to prevent deviations on the part of CCP-appointed managers...

 from 1998 to 2002. By the end of the 1990s Wen and Zhang Peili
Zhang Peili
Zhang Peili is a Chinese geologist and the wife of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.-Biography:Peili was formerly the Vice-President of the Chinese Jewelry Association, and President and CEO of Beijing Diamond Jewelries Co., a company which has operations in both the mainland and Hong Kong.Zhang met Wen...

 were the main investor and founder of Pingan Insurance (平安保險), which was established with the help of Hong Kong tycoon Cheng Yu-tung
Cheng Yu-tung
Cheng Yu-tung GBM is a Hong Kong billionaire with extensive business dealings and real estate interests in both Hong Kong and Macau. He owns the privately-held Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, a conglomerate which operates the Sheraton Marina hotel and controls the publicly listed New World group...

's family through real estate firm New World Development
New World Development
New World Development Company Limited , based in Hong Kong, is active in property, infrastructure, services and telecommunications. It was established in 1970 with Dr Ho Sin Hang as Chairman and Chow Chi Yuen as Director and General Manager...

.

Survival of Tiananmen purge


Wen's most significant political recovery occurred after accompanying Zhao to see demonstrating students in Tiananmen Square in 1989
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

. Unlike Zhao, who was purged from the party days later for "grave insubordination" and lived under house arrest
House arrest
In justice and law, house arrest is a measure by which a person is confined by the authorities to his or her residence. Travel is usually restricted, if allowed at all...

 in Beijing until his death in January 2005, Wen survived the political aftermath of the demonstrations.
Wen Jiabao is the only Chief of the Party's General Affairs Office to have served under three General Secretaries: Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang was a leader of the People's Republic of China who served as both Chairman and Party General Secretary. Hu joined the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930s, and rose to prominence as a comrade of Deng Xiaoping...

, Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

, and Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005...

.

First-term Premiership


Wen entered the Politburo Standing Committee, China's highest ruling council, in November 2002, ranked third out of nine members. During the transition of authority as Hu Jintao assumed the presidency in March 2003, Wen's nomination as premier was confirmed by the National People's Congress
National People's Congress
The National People's Congress , abbreviated NPC , is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People's Republic of China. The National People's Congress is held in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China; with 2,987 members, it is the...

 with over 99% of the delegates' vote. After taking over as Premier, Wen oversaw the continuation of China's economic reforms
Chinese economic reform
The Chinese economic reform refers to the program of economic reforms called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" in the People's Republic of China that were started in December 1978 by reformists within the Communist Party of China led by Deng Xiaoping.China had one of the world's largest...

 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. 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" sought to revitalize the rural economy in regions left out by the past two decades of reform. 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 was encapsulated into the idea of a xiaokang
Xiaokang
Xiaokang is a Confucian term describing a society of modest means, or a society composed of a functional middle-class.- Ancient Use :...

 society
.

Initially regarded as quiet and unassuming, Wen 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
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005...

 and his protégés on the Politburo Standing Committee, who form the so-called "Shanghai clique
Shanghai clique
The Shanghai clique or Shanghai faction is the name given to an informal group of officials in the Communist Party of China, especially those who serve in the central government of the People's Republic of China or the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, who rose to prominence in...

", 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 Shanghai, the country's most cosmopolitan city.

Like Hu Jintao, whose purported brilliance and photographic memory have facilitated his meteoric rise to power, Wen is regarded 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-effacing 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."

Mild-tempered and conciliatory, especially compared to his predecessor, the tough, straight-talking Zhu Rongji, Wen's consensual management style has enabled him to generate a great deal of good will, but has also created some opponents who are in support of tougher policy decisions. Notably, Wen was widely known to have clashed with then-Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu
Chen Liangyu
Chen Liangyu was a politician of the People's Republic of China from the ruling Communist Party, and the disgraced CPC Shanghai Committee Secretary, or the city's first-in-charge....

 over the central government's policies.

Wen was involved in two major episodes involving public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

. In early 2003, he was involved in ending the official inaction over the SARS crisis. On 1 December 2004, he became the first major Chinese official to publicly address the problem of AIDS, which has devastated parts of the provinces of Yunnan
Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

 and Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of 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 is more likely to be spread by drug abuse and the reuse of hypodermic syringes than by sexual contact.

Wen was known to conduct visits to relatively poor areas of China's countryside randomly 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
State Council of the People's Republic of China
The State Council of the People's Republic of China , which is largely synonymous with the Central People's Government after 1954, is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the Premier and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency...

, Wen made it clear that the rural wealth disparity problem must be addressed. Along with General Secretary Hu Jintao, the government focused on the "Three Rural Issues
Three Rural Issues
The Three Rural Issues, or San Nong , refers to three issues relating to rural development in mainland China. Specifically, these issues are agriculture, rural areas and peasants...

", namely, agriculture, the countryside, and farmers, and emphasized these core areas as requiring further 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. But despite these initiatives, Wen has been criticized for allowing the urban-rural gap to actually increase during his tenure. Like 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
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year – often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar – is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an all East and South-East-Asia celebration...

 in 2005 with a group of coal miners in a Shanxi
Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

 coal mine. To many, Wen has gained the image of being the "people's premier", a populist, and an ordinary Chinese citizen who knows and understands ordinary people's needs. In an annual meeting of the Chinese Authors Association, Wen spoke for over two hours to the delegates without looking at 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
Taiwan independence
Taiwan independence is a political movement whose goals are primarily to formally establish the Republic of Taiwan by renaming or replacing the Republic of China , form a Taiwanese national identity, reject unification and One country, two systems with the People's Republic of China and a Chinese...

, Tibetan independence and human rights
Human rights in the People's Republic of China
Human rights in the People's Republic of China are a matter of dispute between the Chinese government, other countries, international NGOs, and dissidents inside the country. Organizations such as the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have accused the Chinese...

.

In December 2003, Wen visited the United States for the first time. During the trip, Wen was able to get President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 to issue what many saw as a mild rebuke to the then President of the Republic of China
President of the Republic of China
The President of the Republic of China is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China . The Republic of China was founded on January 1, 1912, to govern all of China...

 (Taiwan), Chen Shui-bian
Chen Shui-bian
Chen Shui-bian is a former Taiwanese politician who was the 10th and 11th-term President of the Republic of China from 2000 to 2008. Chen, whose Democratic Progressive Party has traditionally been supportive of Taiwan independence, ended more than fifty years of Kuomintang rule in Taiwan...

. Wen has also been on visits to Canada and Australia, mostly on economic issues. Wen also visited Japan in April 2007 in what was termed the "de-thawing journey", where he characterized the relationship between the Asian powers as for "mutual benefit". He also met with Emperor Akihito
Akihito
is the current , the 125th emperor of his line according to Japan's traditional order of succession. He acceded to the throne in 1989.-Name:In Japan, the emperor is never referred to by his given name, but rather is referred to as "His Imperial Majesty the Emperor" which may be shortened to . In...

 and played baseball.

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
National People's Congress
The National People's Congress , abbreviated NPC , is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People's Republic of China. The National People's Congress is held in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China; with 2,987 members, it is the...

, Wen 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
Political status of Taiwan
The controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan hinges on whether Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu should remain effectively independent as territory of the Republic of China , become unified with the territories now governed by the People's Republic of China , or formally declare...

. 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 17.8 percent from the previous year's 45 billion dollars, creating tension with the United States.

There were rumours about Wen's retirement and reputed clashes with former Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu
Chen Liangyu
Chen Liangyu was a politician of the People's Republic of China from the ruling Communist Party, and the disgraced CPC Shanghai Committee Secretary, or the city's first-in-charge....

 before the party's 17th Party Congress
17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
The 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing, China, at the Great Hall of the People from 15 to 21 October 2007. The Congress marked significant shift in the political direction of the country as CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao solidified his position of leadership...

. 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
2008 Chinese winter storms
The 2008 Chinese winter storms(2008年中国雪灾、2008年中国南方雪灾)are a series of winter storm events that affected large portions of southern and central China starting on 25 January 2008 until 6 February 2008. The systems affected most of the area with heavy snows, ice and cold temperatures causing extensive...

, Premier Wen made his way south and visited train stations in Changsha and Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

, addressing the public while calming their mood for long train delays.

Second-term Premiership


Premier Wen Jiabao was appointed to a second five-year term as China's premier on 16 March 2008, leading efforts to cool soaring inflation and showcase the country to the world at the 2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

. He received fewer votes in favour than he did in 2003, a sign that the premiership can create enemies, even in the mere formalities of China's electoral system. Wen faced grave economic challenges as the world became increasingly affected by the U.S. economic crisis. Social stability and regional activism in China's restive hinterland regions also dominated Wen's policy agenda. On 18 March 2008, during the press conference after the 2008 National People's Congress
2008 National People's Congress
The 1st Plenary Session of the 11th National People's Congress held its annual meeting from March 5 to March 18, 2008 in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, in conjunction with the 2008 CPPCC....

, Wen toed the government line in blaming supporters of the Dalai Lama
14th Dalai Lama
The 14th Dalai Lama is the 14th and current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are the most influential figures in the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, although the 14th has consolidated control over the other lineages in recent years...

 for violence in Tibet
2008 Tibetan unrest
The 2008 Tibetan unrest, also known from its Chinese name as the 3•14 Riots, was a series of riots, protests, and demonstrations that started in Tibetan regional capital of Lhasa and spread to other Tibetan areas and a number of monasteries including outside the Tibet Autonomous Region...

, and said Chinese security forces exercised restraint in confronting rioting and unrest in the streets of Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

. Wen acted as 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 2008 Sichuan Earthquake



Premier Wen Jiabao's popularity was boosted significantly when he went to the disaster area of the Sichuan a mere few hours after the disaster occurred. He declared on national television that survivors are to be rescued as long as there is "a glimmer of hope". He was named the General Commander of the Earthquake Relief Efforts Committee immediately following the disaster. Following his visits to the area, images of the Premier were displayed on national media, numerous videos popped up on Chinese video sites making comparisons with former Premier Zhou Enlai, a largely popular figure who was also dubbed the "People's Premier". While China's leaders are often shown on state television looking rather stiff and sitting motionlessly, Wen's on-site image and candid nature attracted a large popular following of Chinese citizens.

In addition, there was speculation on internet forums as well as foreign media about the availability of the scientific prediction of the 2008 earthquake, and Wen was quoted as the only high-ranking Chinese leader to try to announce the scientific prediction and made it public, but was somehow prevented by other members of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's top power organ.

2009 NPC


Before the 2009 National People's Congress
2009 National People's Congress
The 2nd Plenary Session of the 11th National People's Congress is the annual meeting of the highest legislative body of the People's Republic of China, which was held in March 2009 at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The event began on March 5 and lasted until March 13...

 convened, on 28 February, Premier Wen Jiabao went online on video chat to answer queries hosted by China's official government website gov.cn and the official Xinhua News Agency
Xinhua News Agency
The Xinhua News Agency is the official press agency of the government of the People's Republic of China and the biggest center for collecting information and press conferences in the PRC. It is the largest news agency in the PRC, ahead of the China News Service...

. During the session Wen openly advocated for transparency of the government and remarked that he was somewhat nervous about the occasion. He received a wide range of questions from large numbers of online Chinese netizens and chose to answer selected questions about prominent economic issues, such as global financial breakdown.

At the Congress Wen also passed on a message of reassurance that China's growth will not dip below 8% in 2009. Wen did not introduce a new stimulus package, and played down speculation that part of the 1.18 trillion RMB central government spending was not going directly into the economy. He also expressed concern about the security of China's holdings in U.S. treasury debt. In a more unusual gesture, Wen also expressed interest to visit Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, stating he would "crawl there if [he] could not walk".

Foreign policy



Wen Jiabao has played a prominent role advancing China's foreign policy positions and has become increasingly visible on the world stage as China's economic power expanded. He went on an official working visit to North Korea on 4 October 2009, the first time a Chinese Premier has visited North Korea since Li Peng
Li Peng
Li Peng served as the fourth Premier of the People's Republic of China, between 1987 and 1998, and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, from 1998 to 2003. For much of the 1990s Li was ranked second in the Communist Party of China ...

's visit in 1991. He was greeted at the Pyongyang Airport by ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il
Kim Jong-il
Kim Jong-il, also written as Kim Jong Il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim born 16 February 1941 or 16 February 1942 , is the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea...

. Kim rarely greets foreign dignitaries himself upon their arrival at the airport. Reuters believed this to be a show of solidarity from North Korea and that the country was serious in fostering a good relationship with China. Wen also met with European Union leaders at a China-EU conference in late November 2009, where he refused calls for China to revalue its Yuan and re-examine its foreign exchange regime. Wen remarked in Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

 that "some countries are on the one hand pressuring China to appreciate its currency while on the other hand they are practising trade protectionism against China in many different forms."

In December, in what was seen as a mild rebuke of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Stephen Harper
Stephen Joseph Harper is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Conservative Party. Harper became prime minister when his party formed a minority government after the 2006 federal election...

 during the latter's working visit to China, Wen stated, "This is your first trip to China and this is the first meeting between the Chinese Premier and the Canadian Prime Minister in almost five years. Five years is too long a time for China Canada relations." However, the interpretation that Wen rebuked Harper was later disputed in select newspaper editorials. Wen also travelled to the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference, where he met with U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 twice to secure an 11th-hour non-binding agreement on emissions cuts.

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 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
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

" 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
Scientific Development Concept
The scientific development concept, sometimes translated as the scientific development perspective, is the current official guiding socio-economic ideology of the Communist Party of China incorporating sustainable development, social welfare, a humanistic society, increased democracy, and,...

, the leading ideology of the administration.

Wen's views on the subject of political reform are also not entirely clear. He has remarked that "the socialist system will continue in China for the next 100 years", although later in a Press Conference at the 2007 National People's Congress
2007 National People's Congress
The 5th Plenary Session of the 10th National People's Congress held its annual meeting from March 5 to March 15, 2007 at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, in conjunction with the 2007 CPPCC. Many items were listed on the agenda for the two-week-long session of the National People's...

, he stated that "democracy is one of the basic goals of the socialist system". Furthermore, in an interview in September 2008, Wen acknowledged that the democratic system in China needs to be improved, where the power "truly belongs to the people" through the construction of an independent judicial system and for the government to accept criticism from the people. Wen, seen as a former ally of Premier Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

, is likely supportive of the latter's political rehabilitation. However, Wen has rarely mentioned Zhao publicly during his premiership. When asked by CNN whether or not China will liberalize for free elections in the next 25 years, Wen stated that it would be "hard to predict." On the subject of Taiwan
Political status of Taiwan
The controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan hinges on whether Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu should remain effectively independent as territory of the Republic of China , become unified with the territories now governed by the People's Republic of China , or formally declare...

, Wen reputedly believes in gradual negotiations. On the subject of Tibet, Wen toes the party line in condemning the exiled Dalai Lama for inciting "separatist violence".
Xinhua published articles in early 2007 on the direction of national development. The authorship of the articles was attributed separately to Wen Jiabao, particularly the 26 February piece "Our Historical Tasks at the Primary Stage of Socialism and Several Issues Concerning China's Foreign Policy". The article advanced Wen's "peace doctrine" in global affairs, as well as what appeared to be inclinations towards fostering social democracy
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 and advocacy of universal values
Universal values
Something is of universal value if it has the same value or worth for all, or almost all, people. This claim could mean two importantly different things. First, it could be that something has a universal value when everybody finds it valuable. This was Isaiah Berlin's understanding of the term...

. This was suspected as a sign that Wen has some differing viewpoints to the official party line – that values are relativistic and that "Chinese values" are not necessarily the same as "Western values," and that universal values is thus an empty concept. The debate continues to rage in Chinese political circles today, with neo-leftist thinkers such as Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences , established in 1977, is the premier and highest academic research organization in the fields of philosophy and social sciences as well as a national center for comprehensive studies in the People's Republic of China. It was described by Foreign Policy...

 President Chen Kuiyuan
Chen Kuiyuan
Chen Kuiyuan is a politician of the People's Republic of China. He currently serves as the vice chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference , and the president and the Party chief of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences....

 criticizing Wen's advocacy of universal values, saying that it relegates Chinese values and thinking as an inferior alternative to supposedly more "correct" Western norms.

Wen is perceived by some observers as a liberal voice in China's ruling elite. Wen has openly talked about democracy and increased freedoms in his speeches and interviews with foreign correspondents, although much of it was deemed "sensitive" commentary and censored in state media. Wen remarked that "someone who speaks is not a criminal, someone who listens is duly warned" at a internal party conference in 2009, an event reported on Xinhua and other state networks. His remarks triggered debate from netizens, as it seemed to contravene the practices of the Communist Party, particularly in its suppression of dissent. Analysts noted that Wen's message was aimed at party members, and not necessarily the general public because Wen believes freedom of speech has deteriorated since Hu Jintao's accession to power and has negatively affected China's political landscape and international reputation. His comments also ostensibly addressed the pervasive "fake-talking" present in Chinese political circles, in an attempt to curb systemic and institutional woes stemming from officials who are afraid to speak the truth.

Wen has progressively amped up his liberal rhetoric as his Premiership continued, remarking in August 2010 that "Without political reform, China may lose what it has already achieved through economic restructuring". Wen's comments were largely censored in state media, but he gained support from a group of some 23 party elders in October, who denounced the authorities' censorship of Wen's remarks in an open letter to the National People's Congress
National People's Congress
The National People's Congress , abbreviated NPC , is the highest state body and the only legislative house in the People's Republic of China. The National People's Congress is held in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, capital of the People's Republic of China; with 2,987 members, it is the...

. In an interview with Fareed Zakaria
Fareed Zakaria
Fareed Rafiq Zakaria is an Indian-American journalist and author. From 2000 to 2010, he was a columnist for Newsweek and editor of Newsweek International. In 2010 he became Editor-At-Large of Time magazine...

 on CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's Global Public Square television program aired in October 2010, Wen made the following statement: "I have summed up my political ideals into the following four sentences. To let everyone lead a happy life with dignity. To let everyone feel safe and secure. To let the society be one with equity and justice. And to let everyone have confidence in the future. In spite of the various discussions and views in the society, and in spite of some resistance, I will act in accordance with these ideals unswervingly, and advance within the realm of my capabilities political restructuring. I will like to tell you the following two sentences to reinforce my view on this point. I will not fall in spite of the strong wind and harsh rain, and I will not yield until the last day of my life."

Public image and political influence


Wen has been described as a populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

 by most observers. His quick responses and visits to the scenes of various disasters, including the 2008 Sichuan earthquake
2008 Sichuan earthquake
The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 Msand 7.9 Mw occurred at 14:28:01 CST...

, has earned him a considerable reputation as an approachable leader in touch with the experiences of the masses. Wen engages regularly with locals on his trips to various Chinese provinces as well as foreign visits; he played baseball and badminton with Japanese and South Korean citizens during visits to those countries. "Whether taking a stroll or swimming, it puts me at ease both mentally and physically and helps me handle my heavy workload," Wen had remarked.
Wen's public image has been criticized by Chinese dissident Yu Jie
Yu Jie
Yu Jie , he is a writer and vice-president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center , coming from Chengdu, Sichuan, China. He is actively participating in China's human rights activities, and openly expresses his own views related.-Biography:...

, who charged that Wen's rhetoric is insincere and empty. Dissidents such as Yu allege that Wen's parade of appearances on Chinese media is a carefully managed public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 campaign designed to distract people from real issues. They say that through use of Wen's charisma
Charisma
The term charisma has two senses: 1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, 2) a divinely conferred power or talent. For some theological usages the term is rendered charism, with a meaning the same as sense 2...

, the government hopes to showcase cosmetic solutions to much larger, systemic issues in order to placate public opinion. They also point out that Wen's words are rarely translated into deeds. On the other hand, Li Datong
Li Datong
Li Datong was the Managing Editor of Freezing Point, a section of China Youth Daily. He was fired, and his popular column closed, because of a published letter condemning censorship and government intrusion into the press in China...

, a pro-democracy advocate, in an interview with the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

, stated that "among the top Chinese leaders, who else speaks about democracy? Who else speaks about universal values and freedom?... Wen is the only one." Li believes that Wen is genuinely calling for democratic reform but he is powerless to make major decisions on the matter due to internal opposition. Wen's family members have also been subject to gossip and scrutiny outside of mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

. Taiwanese media zoomed in on his wife's alleged personal fortunes from her jewelry business, while the Financial Times
Financial Times
The Financial Times is an international business newspaper. It is a morning daily newspaper published in London and printed in 24 cities around the world. Its primary rival is the Wall Street Journal, published in New York City....

reported on a private equity firm called New Horizon Capital co-founded by Wen's son Wen Yunsong
Wen Yunsong
Wen Yunsong, also known as Winston Wen is a Chinese man and current CEO of Unihub Global Networks, a Chinese networking company. He is the son of current Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and a jewellery expert. Mr. Wen was a principal of New Horizon Capital, a private equity fund. He graduated from...

.

As the head of Chinese Central People's government, Wen Jiabao is considered to be one of the most powerful statesmen in the world. In 2006, he was named to the Time 100
Time 100
Time 100 is an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, as assembled by Time. First published in 1999 as a result of a debate among several academics, the list has become an annual event.-History and format:...

 list. In 2009, Wen was named one of ten people and the only non-American in a list compiled by ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 of people who shaped the U.S. economy
Economy of the United States
The economy of the United States is the world's largest national economy. Its nominal GDP was estimated to be nearly $14.5 trillion in 2010, approximately a quarter of nominal global GDP. The European Union has a larger collective economy, but is not a single nation...

 the most since 2000. Wen also topped a list of "10 leaders to watch" in 2010 released 19 January by Eurasia Group
Eurasia Group
-Overview:Eurasia Group is best known as the world's largest political risk consultancy with offices in New York, Washington, London, and Tokyo and more than 125 full-time employees...

, a global political risk research and consulting firm. Behind that U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 came second. In August 2010, Wen was named "The Man of the People" by Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

. In October 2010, Wen Jiabao was a person selected on the TIME Magazine's cover that the title was "Wen's World".

Personal life


Wen Jiabao is married to Zhang Peili
Zhang Peili
Zhang Peili is a Chinese geologist and the wife of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.-Biography:Peili was formerly the Vice-President of the Chinese Jewelry Association, and President and CEO of Beijing Diamond Jewelries Co., a company which has operations in both the mainland and Hong Kong.Zhang met Wen...

, a jewellery expert and investor, who has rarely appeared with Wen in public. They have a son, Wen Yunsong
Wen Yunsong
Wen Yunsong, also known as Winston Wen is a Chinese man and current CEO of Unihub Global Networks, a Chinese networking company. He is the son of current Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and a jewellery expert. Mr. Wen was a principal of New Horizon Capital, a private equity fund. He graduated from...

, who is CEO of Unihub, a Chinese networking company, and a daughter, Wen Ruchun. Wen is said to have an introverted personality. He has stated that his one regret so far in life was "Never having learned to drive a manual car." Wen is known for his adept use of Chinese poetry
Chinese poetry
Chinese poetry is poetry written, spoken, or chanted in the Chinese language, which includes various versions of Chinese language, including Classical Chinese, Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, Yue Chinese, as well as many other historical and vernacular varieties of the Chinese language...

 to convey political and diplomatic messages, to respond to journalists, or simply to begin a speech.

See also

  • Politics of the People's Republic of China
    Politics of the People's Republic of China
    The politics of the People's Republic of China take place in a framework of a single-party socialist republic. The leadership of the Communist Party is stated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China...

  • History of the People's Republic of China (2002–present)
  • Hu-Wen Administration
    Hu-Wen Administration
    The Hu-Wen Administration , or Hu-Wen New Administration is the name given to the Chinese leadership that succeeded Jiang Zemin, Li Peng and Zhu Rongji, whose official start date was 2003...


External links




|-
|-

|-
|-
|-