Zhou Yongkang 周永康



Former Head of Politics & Law Commission – a Party body that oversees all legal enforcement authorities and Member of 17th Politburo Standing Committee

Zhou Yongkang


Pronunciation: Joe Yoong-kahng soundbite
Born: 1942. A “princeling” (? Possibly married to a niece of Jiang Zemin).
Education: Qinghua University, hydraulic engineering.
Career: Number 9 in the Politburo Standing Committee; Secretary of the Politics & Law Commission since 2007; Head of the Leading Group for Maintaining Social Stability. Minister for Public Security until 2007 when, also as a Politburo member, was “the most powerful public security minister in recent history” according to Dui Hua.
Prospects: Retired. Clung to his position in the wake of Bo Xilai’s fall. His successor may not have a seat on the Politburo Standing Committee.
Relevance to Tibet: Responsible for maintaining social stability. Former Sichuan Party Secretary. Former member of the Tibet Work Leading Group.

Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:

The Politics & Law Commission is the highest legislative oversight body in China. It is very powerful, overseeing all legal enforcement authorities, including the police force (according to Wikipedia). Despite reports in May 2012 (see Financial Times) that his public security responsibilities have been handed over to Meng Jianzhu Zhou seems to have retained his position on the Politburo Standing Committee. In August 2012 Reuters reported that the role of domestic security chief may be downgraded during the 18th Party Congress, with the Politburo Standing Committee membership reduced from nine to seven. Sources told Reuters such a move may reflect fears that the position has become too powerful.

Zhou is Head of Leading Group on Maintaining Social Stability, reporting to Xi Jinping. China’s 2010 budget for maintaining social stability is 514 billion yuan… almost equal to China’s 518.6 billion yuan defence budget and an 8.9% increase from 2009. (Asia Times).

Widely thought of as a hardliner; sources say Zhou’s speeches are laced with concern that political dissidents “might try to manipulate local protests to put pressure on the party itself.” Zhou however acknowledges huge rise in ‘mass incidents’ and talks of dealing with them more humanely and eliminating situations that give rise to protest.

Minister of Public Security 2003-2007 (and thereby a member of the Tibet Work Leading Group).

Party Secretary of Sichuan Province 1999-2002; when Tenzin Delek Rinpoche was detained.

Early career (20 years) in the oil industry (where he is still influential), with simultaneous party jobs, during which he worked with Zhang Qingli (now TAR Party Secretary).

An ally of Jiang Zemin.

Quotations By/Comments About

  • Tsering Shakya, Time July 17, 2000 : “At a meeting of China’s NPC, Zhou Yongkang (Sichuan) announced that teaching Tibetan in schools was a drain on government resources.”
  • BBC: In Sichuan, “[He] gained a reputation for dealing firmly with any signs of dissent – coming down hard on Tibetan groups and the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong…The ruthless streak he developed in his time in Sichuan also seems to have remained, and he has frequently expressed his willingness to crack down on what he has termed ‘hostile forces’.”
  • Reuters 26 Jan 2010. Problems arising from China’s uneven development means that “various social conflicts will keep growing and be reflected through petitions,” said Zhou, who told local officials to resolve petitioners’ complaints better, while warning that “a handful of unreasonable harassers would be dealt with in line with the law.”
  • The Times, April 2008: “So far China’s top leadership has thrown its support behind the PLA’s iron- fisted response. Zhou Yongkang and Li Changchun are said to have persuaded the rest of the standing committee that China can win in Tibet and in the arena of world opinion.”
  • Willy Lam FEER, October 2009. The Politics and Law Commission, headed by Zhou Yongkang, assumes total control over the police, procuratorate and courts… Messrs. Hu, Zhou and colleagues have heavily politicized the courts, for instance by appointing Party functionaries as senior judges.

Zhou Yongkang’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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