Wang Qishan 王岐山
Politburo Standing Committee
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
Pronunciation: Wong Chee-shahn soundbite
Born: 1948, Shandong Province. Considered a “princeling” (son-in-law of former Vice Premier Yao Yilin). A sent-down youth during the Cultural Revolution.
Education: Graduate in history, Northwest University.
Career: Previously one of four Vice-Premiers of the State Council (until March 2013).
Prospects: Promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee in 2012 and Chairs the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. Theoretically due to retire in 2017 but increasing speculation that Xi Jinping may alter informal rules about age of retirement, so that he can stay on.
Relevance to Tibet: One of China’s most senior leaders.
Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:
Wang Qishan has risen to prominence as Head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, with its high profile investigations into corruption by senior officials, including former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang and Hu Jintao aide Ling Jihua. Wang is theoretically due to step down from the Politburo Standing Committee, along with 4 other members who will have reached retirement age, but Joseph Fewsmith of Boston University recently observed to Bloomberg that Xi’s corruption crackdown may lead to “changes in the anticipated leadership lineup” with Wang Qishan possibly “deemed too important to retire”.
Many years at top level of major banks (and the Party committees of those banks).
Various top level positions in Guangdong and Hainan Provinces. Mayor of Beijing.
Executive chairman of the Beijing Organizing Committee (2008 Olympics).
Member of the Politburo since 2007 (and member of 17th CPC Central Committee), a Vice Premier 2008 to 2013, responsible for economic, energy and financial affairs.
Known for bold handling of crises, e.g., SARS epidemic, liquidation of a scandal-ridden bank in Guangdong as a warning to financial community. Since 2009, chairs the Chinese side of the economic track of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Quotations By/Comments About
- Willy Lam, Jamestown, Oct 2007 and Asia Sentinel, Jan 2008: [When Wang was being considered for Vice-Premier] Only Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan has a well earned national stature as well as an overall satisfactory track record as a reformer and administrator….Wang earned high marks from WHO, not only for full cooperation with the international agency [on the SARS crisis] but also subsequent attempts to modernize the Beijing health system. Wang has a “charismatic yet hard-driving personality.”
- Melinda Liu, Newsweek Oct 2007: Nobody can pinpoint just when conspicuous consumption took over Beijing. …everyone knows when the tide turned and elitism suddenly went out of official fashion. In May 2007, Beijing’s no-nonsense Mayor Wang Qishan publicly blasted the bling-bling billboards…. Wang complained that the gaudy signs “encourage luxury and self-indulgence which are beyond the reach of low-income groups, and [are] therefore not conducive to harmony in the capital.” Since then, hundreds of the offending advertisements have disappeared.
- Cheng Li, Brookings 2010: Cheng predicted that Wang was likely to become Executive Vice-Premier under Li Keqiang’s Premiership; however that position “may not do justice to Wang’s high caliber.” Some in China argued that Wang should, instead, become Premier, but since Xi Jinping is also a princeling, it would have been highly unpopular to have two princelings in the top two positions.
- Bloomberg News, May 2010: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner calls Wang China’s “definitive preeminent troubleshooter, firefighter, problem solver.” [NB Wang became close to Geithner’s father, when he gave him financial support as a student.]
- ChinaStakes, October 2009 quoted Wang as saying: “US Secretary Geithner and I have a personal relationship (“guanxi”) which distinguishes success from failure. Our relationship is not an ordinary relationship. We are family. We can build a successful US- China relationship because of our “guanxi.” An “uncle” relationship has greater advantages than a purely formal business relationship.
- A China Leadership Monitor Profile, April 2012 by Cheng Li, can be downloaded from http://www.hoover.org/publications/china-leadership-monitor/article/116046.
Wang Qishan’s Contact Information:
- Address: Zhongnanhai, Xi Chang’an Jie, Beijing 100017.
- Website: www.gov.cn
- Phone: + 86 10 6307 0913
- Fax: + 86 10 6307 0900
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