Qin Yizhi

Qin Yizhi

Ex-Secretary, Communist Youth League


A hardliner who formerly served in the Tibet Autonomous Region and promoted ‘patriotic re-education’ campaigns.

Qin Yizhi


Pronunciation: Chin Yee-juh
Born: 1965
Education: Graduated from Tsinghua University in 1988.
Career: Worked in a steel plant in Sichuan Province before moving to the TAR in 2005. Party Secretary of Lhasa 2006-2011, then a Vice Chair of the TAR Government.
Prospects: Demoted from CYL in September 2017, so prospects looking dim. See below for more about the CYL.
Relevance to Tibet: A former rising star with experience working in Tibet, and a reputation as a hardliner.

Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:

Qin Yizhi was serving in the TAR during the Uprisings of 2008. In March 2013 The South China Morning Post quoted dissident writer Tsering Woeser as saying that ‘Qin was a hardline party official, and had consistently pushed for the government-sanctioned “patriotic education” of monks during his time in Tibet. “He was very tough on religious issues,” she said. “His promotion could give a very bad indication to the current Tibetan officials that only hardliners can get promoted.”‘

Human Rights Watch reported that Qin was the first non-Tibetan to hold the position of Lhasa Party Secretary since 1980. On 28 March 2011, so-called “Serf Emancipation Day” Qin was quoted as saying “The region has perfectly implemented a policy granting freedom in religious belief and ensuring all Tibetan people enjoy such a right.”

On 20 September, Xinhua reported that Qin had been removed from the CYL and was to become deputy head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The South China Post had predicted the move, concluding that this would deal a further blow to the beleaguered faction of the party that was the power base of former president Hu Jintao and current Premier Li Keqiang. “… after the fall of ex-president Hu Jintao’s former top aide Ling Jihua in 2014 on corruption charges, another former member of the league, the party youth branch was heavily criticised by party inspectors who accused the organisation of having a self-serving attitude, with some cadres considering themselves “political aristocrats”.

Note on the Communist Youth League: The Communist Youth League has served as a cradle for generations of Chinese leaders, who rose through it into the high ranks of the party. Xi Jinping’s immediate predecessor as China’s top leader, Hu Jintao, was among the most prominent. Others have included Premier Li Keqiang, Vice President Li Yuanchao and Ling Jihua, the former head of the party’s general office. However, in August 2016 the Communist Party announced major changes to the CYL, shrinking its central leadership and putting it under firmer control. The New York Times reported: “President Xi Jinping of China in effect wrote an epitaph to the shrunken influence of his predecessor and former rivals this week when the Communist Party announced major changes to its once-powerful Youth League, a training ground for many officials who have been marginalized under Mr. Xi.” The paper went on to quote Li Datong, a former editor at China Youth Daily, the league’s newspaper as saying that the latest changes were proof that the group had little influence. “Under Hu Jintao you could maybe make a strained argument that there was some kind of Youth League faction, but not now,” Mr. Li said. “It’s ceased to exist.” “The criticisms of the Youth League show that its influence has run its course,” he said. “It’s become a political zombie.”

Qin Yizhi’s Contact Information:

  • Address: Communist Youth League of China, No. 10, Qianmen Dongdajie, Beijing 100051.
  • Website: www.acyf.org.cn
  • Phone: +86 10 85212608
  • Fax: +86 10 67018131

Note on the Communist Youth League (CYL):

An influential mass organization run by the Party for individuals between 14 and 28. Has about 74 million members and is considered a grooming ground for future Party leaders. The CYL remains a cornerstone of Hu Jintao’s power-base with CYL members forming the core of Hu Jintao’s closest colleagues. Past CYL Heads and senior leaders include Hu Yaobang, Hu Jintao, Liu Yandong, Li Keqiang, Li Yuanchao, Zhou Qiang, Hu Chunhua and Ling Jihua.

However, the influence of CYL, with its close associations to Hu Jintao, may be fading. Associated Press reported that, whilst Youth League support was important to Xi Jinping in tackling corruption, now that the big “tigers” are snared, this support is no longer so important. Willy Lam explained to AP how CYL faction members had seen their power diminish. “It’s an open secret that [Li Keqiang’s] been sidelined. He’s no longer the economy czar but has to defer to Xi.” Two other prominent members of the Youth League political faction — Vice President Li Yuanchao and Vice Premier Wang Yang — also have seen their powers limited after they failed to make it to the Politburo’s Standing Committee in 2012, Lam said. “It looks like the entire Youth League faction will be under threat, as Hu Jintao has not been able to do anything about it,” Lam said. “Ling Jihua is the symbol of the Youth League, as he has had close associations with Hu Jintao for more than 10 years.”

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