Ma Kai

Ma Kai 马凯



Vice Premier and Politburo Member. Had a prominent role in advancing Western Development Plan and was previously involved in Tibet Work Leading Group

Ma Kai


Pronunciation: Mah Kai (as in eye) soundbite
Born: 1946, Shanxi. A “princeling” (his father was a Minister of Finance and Trade).
Education: Masters Degree, Renmin University, Department of Politics and Economics.
Career: Protégé of Wen Jiabao. Was Secretary General of the State Council (Cabinet) until March 2013.
Prospects: Secured promotion to the Politburo in 2012, having faced opposition to promotion from the National People’s Congress and top Provincial Leaders in 2007. Served as Vice Premier until 2018.
Relevance to Tibet: A former Deputy Chair of the Tibet Work Leading Group.

Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:

Started as a middle school teacher.

His entire Party career has been spent in Beijing in increasingly more responsible positions with regard to the economy.

From 2003 – 2008, as Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission [see note by Willy Lam below], Ma had a leading role in implementing the Western Development Plan.

President, the State Council’s Chinese Academy of Governance (training for middle and senior civil servants).

Secretary General of the State Council 2008 – 2013, handling day-to-day operations of the State Council. Vice Premier 2013 – 2018.

Recently a key figure in climate change policy.

Quotations By/Comments About:

  • Xinhua, 9 April 2007: Ma Kai, Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Saturday that the development of western China is even more important as China moves to boost regional development nationwide. China will uphold the western development strategy and continue to support the region, Ma said, adding the development of western China concerns lasting stability and durable peace, the implementation of a scientific outlook of development and the building of a socialist harmonious society….However, he warned officials of western China against pursuing economy at the cost of environment.
  • Willy Lam, Jamestown Foundation 2008: [With regard to the consolidation of various state agencies with the intent of improving efficiency.] The State Council already boasts arguably the biggest single department in post-1949 administrative history – the mammoth National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) – which is often dubbed a mini-State Council. Working closely with the premier’s office as well as the State Council Secretariat, the NDRC vets and fine-tunes major policy initiatives and decisions affecting financial and monetary issues, seminal infrastructure projects, industrial and agriculture development, foreign economic relations, energy and the environment, and so forth. Despite the fact that the NDRC is headed [until 2008] by Wen protégé Ma Kai, the super-ministry has hardly acquitted itself as the cabinet’s chief enforcer and troubleshooter. A big reason is that individual NDRC departments, which are often headed by veteran bureaucrats with ministerial ranking, are often engaged in debilitating turf war with the other ministries.

Ma Kai’s Contact Information:

  • Address: State Council Information Office. No.225 Changyangmennei Dajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100010.
  • Website:
  • Phone: + 86 10 8652 1199
  • Fax: + 86 10 6559 2364

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