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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Meet The Chinese Leader Who Googled Himself, And The System That Shaped Him, by Gady Epstein, Forbes Blog.
Gady Epstein asserts that, despite being thought of as a hardliner now, ….”he was a confirmed reformer in the 1980s, experimenting boldly with economic reforms that included forcing moribund state-owned enterprises into bankruptcy. Li was a young rising star who might have contended for the party’s top job, but after the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, his status as reformer ended up setting him back, according to Andrew J. Nathan and Bruce Gilley’s 2002 book China’s New Rulers: The Secret Files, published on the eve of Li’s ascendancy to the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee.”
The Blog continues: “For much of the 1990s, Li was party secretary of central China’s Henan Province, which, during his tenure, saw an explosion in HIV infections due to widespread blood-selling, including at stations run by or for the profit of government officials…. this disastrous man-made epidemic, exposed in The New York Times and then other foreign media nearly a decade ago, remains a part of China’s secret history inside the Great Firewall. Recently a retired health official urged leaders in an open letter to confront its past on this issue, but that approach would obviously run counter to Li’s interests (no matter what he knew and when he knew it), and more broadly to the system’s instincts.”
Press policy 2011: one photo says all. China Media Project, 17 January 2011. http://cmp.hku.hk/2011/01/17/9574/
The posting describes the roles of Li Changchun, Liu Yunshan and hardliner Chen Kuiyuan (former TAR Party Secretary) at the close of the annual meeting of the country’s top ministers of propaganda. In the report, Cao Guoxing (曹国星), a Shanghai-based reporter for the Chinese-language Radio France Internationale (RFI), is quoted as having translated a ten-points bulletin coming out of the ministers’ meeting including such instructions as:
“In the case of reporting of regular mass incidents (群体性事件), central media and media outside the region where the event occurs will not report, and “management” of metro city newspapers must be strengthened. In the case of mass incidents the pointing of blame at the Party and government must be prevented.”