Zhou Qiang 周强
President, Supreme People’s Court
A sixth generation rising star, who may be in a Party leadership role in 2022
Pronunciation: Joe Cheeyahng soundbite
Education: One of the extraordinary group to take the first college entrance examination after the Cultural Revolution. M.A. in law, SW China University of Political Science & Law.
Career: In Ministry of Justice for about ten years. Headed Communist Youth League. Praised for radical improvement of Hunan’s economy (former Party Secretary). Named by UNEP as one of its “Champions of the Earth” for his work with China Mother River Protection Operation, which mobilised 300 million Chinese youth to protect the environment.
Prospects: A sixth generation rising star, possibly at the top of the Party in 2022. In 2013 appointed President of the Supreme People’s Court.
Relevance to Tibet: May be one of China’s most senior leaders in 2022
Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:
This is one of a number of “mini” profiles of 6th generation rising stars. See information in the Overview box, above right.
Zhou Qiang’s Contact Information:
- Address: Hunan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, No.8 Xiangfuxilu, Tianxin District, Changsha, Hunan 410004.
- Website: www.hnszfbgt.gov.cn
- Phone: +86 731 5990001
- Fax: +86 731 6825808
Background information about Sixth Generation Leaders:
“Sixth generation” leaders will reach the top in 2022, when the leaders who take office in 2012 have completed their likely two five-year terms. [Expected Fifth generation heads are Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang; Mao Zedong was first generation.] In 2009 the official journal Global Personalities featured five individuals born in the 1960s who have been cited by the current leadership as likely candidates for high office in 2022. They are Hu Chunhua, Zhou Qiang, Nur Bekri, Sun Zhengcai, and Lu Hao (China Youth League Head, not Gansu Province Party Secretary). Willy Lam refers to them as having “colossal potential.” Aside from their age and being protégés of Hu or Wen, they have some characteristics in common. At the time of the announcement, they were not well known in China or abroad. None is a princeling. They were all born after the struggle to create the People’s Republic and were too young to be sent-down youths in the Cultural Revolution. Unlike recent leaders, none is an engineer. Three headed the China Youth League.
However, Xi Jinping’s impressive grip on power has raised questions about the continuation of the “tradition” of former leaders selecting their successor’s successor. Kerry Brown, writing in the Diplomat in December 2014 observed: “The idea of Xi Jinping’s predecessor Hu Jintao having much say in [the choice of next leader] seems to grow more remote with each passing day, as Xi appears more and more dominant. It goes against political, let alone psychological, logic to think that Xi might, for mere form’s sake, bow to Hu in his choice. So figures that were eagerly talked about in the past, like Hu Chunhua or Zhou Qiang, seem to be left in the shade now. They were too evidently Hu’s men, married to the low-profile, administrative, and technocratic leadership style so favored by him.”
A general summary of this age group by Melinda Liu, Newsweek, October, 2007:
‘But no one in China is freighted with taller expectations than the offspring of the 1960s. The ’60s Generation, as they’re also known, are seen as worldlier, more traveled and less doctrinaire than any previous Chinese generation. And – though China’s state-run media would never admit it – some Gen-Sixers were probably among the students who rallied at Tiananmen Square in 1989. China will be a different place when they come to power, says Renmin University professor Mao Shoulong. “These younger officials will have liberal thinking and open minds. They’ll see an era of change.”
As a mirror of the society around them, the Gen-Sixers are less ideological and more market-savvy; their peers include private-sector millionaires and environmental activists. But they’re also apt to be nationalistic, even arrogant, some analysts say. “They lack the humility of [their elders],” says Cheng Li, a Sinologist at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Some of them are quite spoiled, in my view.” They certainly have been fortunate compared with earlier generations. For one thing, their higher education was uninterrupted by the traumatic Cultural Revolution of 1966 – 76, when universities were shuttered and students were shipped off to the backcountry to toil in the fields. Instead, they grew up in the era of “opening up and reform,” as (Gen Two) Deng Xiaoping’s quasi- capitalist policies were called.’
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