Wen Jiabao

Wen Jiabao bigraphy, stories - Premier of the People's Republic of China

Wen Jiabao : biography

19 September 1942 –

Wen Jiabao de facto

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 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 Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang to Tiananmen Square during the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests. In 1998, he was promoted to the post of Vice Premier under Premier Zhu Rongji, his mentor, and oversaw the broad portfolios of agriculture and finance.

Since taking office as Premier of the State Council in 2003, Wen, along with President Hu Jintao, has been a key part of the fourth generation of 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.

Personal life and family wealth

The New York Times The New York Times The New York Times The Guardian

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 to convey political and diplomatic messages, to respond to journalists, or simply to begin a speech.Lam, Chinese Politics in the Hu Jintao Era He is a fan of jazz music.

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 with over 99% of the delegates’ vote. After taking over as Premier, Wen oversaw the continuation of 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. 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 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 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 Shanghai, the country’s most cosmopolitan city.