Li Changchun 李长春
Former Chief of domestic and foreign propaganda and Politburo Standing Committee Member
Pronunciation: Lee Chahng-choon Li Changchun
Born: 1944, Liaoning Province
Education: Electrical Engineering degree from Harbin University.
Career: Early career as a technician, became youngest mayor of Shenyang (aged 30) rising through the Party to become Party Secretary of Henan and Guangdong Provinces and eventually Politburo member (again, youngest ever) in 1998. He controls what 1.3 billion people see, hear and speak. He also controls foreign propaganda.
Prospects: Due to retire in 2012/13.
Fascinating Detail: Ranked 19th most influential person in the world by Forbes in 2009 (number 32 in 2010).
Relevance to Tibet: Chief of domestic and foreign propaganda.
Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:
He is a member of the 17th CPC Central Committee and ranks five in the Politburo Standing Committee.
According to China Vitae he was present at Hu Jintao’s address to the 5th Work Forum on Tibet in April 2010.
The BBC describes him as “a protégé of Jiang Zemin, who has been fast-tracked through the party ranks, gaining a strong record of reform and achievement”.
He controls CCTV, China’s leading television network. According to Forbes, “Li keeps “unhealthy information” (Dalai Lama, Tiananmen Square, Falun Gong) from world’s largest Internet user population, estimated at 340 million.
Together with China Mobile, state-controlled mobile service company, he switched customers’ cellphone ring-back tones to patriotic beats for country’s 60th birthday. Lyrics: “Only when we have a strong country can we have a prosperous family.””
According to The Times, Li appears to have some influence with the Standing Committee: “So far China’s top leadership, the nine-man standing committee of the politburo, has thrown its support behind the PLA’s iron-fisted response. The prospect of talks with the Dalai Lama seems unlikely. Zhou Yongkang, the security chief, and Li Changchun, the Communist party’s head propagandist, are said to have persuaded the rest of the standing committee that China can win in Tibet and in the arena of world opinion.” (April 2008, but note that Chinese officials met with the envoys in May 2008.)
Li Changchun’s name emerged during the Wikileaks revelations as being the leader who “Googled” himself; an act that apparently triggered the attacks on Google in 2010.
He was Party Secretary in the agricultural province of Henan in the 1990s when there was a huge scandal after thousands of peasants became infected with HIV by selling their blood.
Quotations By/Comments About
- October 2009, Xinhua, World Media Summit, where Li Changchun met the heads of 10 major media organizations. “Li Changchun has pledged to strengthen cooperation between Chinese and foreign media and to facilitate foreign media coverage of China. He said he expected more foreign media leaders and reporters to visit China and introduce China to the world with true, accurate, comprehensive and objective reports.”
- Li Changchun: “The one-China principle is the most important political basis for China and CPC’s foreign policy.”
Li Changchun’s Contact Information:
- Address: Zhongnanhai, Xi Chang’an Jie, Beijing 100017.
- Website: www.gov.cn
- Phone: + 86 10 63070913
- Fax: + 86 10 63070900
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