Yang Jiechi

Yang Jiechi 杨洁篪

Politburo Member


Thought to be China’s most senior diplomat but exact role unclear. China’s foreign Policy on Tibet is to prevent governments welcoming HHDL and gain concessions on Tibet’s status

Yang Jiechi


Pronunciation: Yahng Jee-eh-chuh soundbite
Born: 1950, Shanghai.
Education: Attended Shanghai Foreign Language Institute, University of Bath, London School of Economics. Has PhD in History.
Career: All connected to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. US Ambassador (2000 -2004). Foreign Minister 2007 – 2013, State Councilor 2013 – 2018 (tbc)
Fascinating Detail: He has been a friend of both Bush presidents for over 30 years, who call him “Tiger Yang.”
Prospects: Promoted to the 19th Politburo in 2017; the first former diplomat to be so for 15 years, suggesting a boost in the status of diplomacy. He may oversee Foreign Minister Wang Yi who became a State Councilor in March 2018 and coordinate other relevant agencies including the International Liaison Department which manages overseas party relations.
Relevance to Tibet: Yang helps implement China’s diplomatic offensive, which seeks to prevent governments welcoming HHDL and presses for concessions on Tibet’s status.

Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:

Member of the 19th Central Committee and 19th Politburo.

Yang is a linguist who worked up through the ranks in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Translation and Interpretation Department. Was official interpreter when Reagan met Deng Xiaoping and likely for other high level meetings.

Worked in embassy in U.S for many years, then as Ambassador to the United States from 2000-2004.

Yang differs from other senior Chinese leaders in that there is no evidence that he had been a worker, neither is there a connection with the China Youth League.  It is unclear what his family background is or how he came to study in the UK. His brother is president of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, which might suggest an intellectual family background. Yang Jeichi seems most closely associated with Jiang Zemin.

His nickname in the Bush family is “Tiger Yang.” Their friendship dates from Yang being the official interpreter during Bush senior’s 1977 trip to Tibet (at a time when Tibet had been closed to Americans since 1949). Yang also made friends with other officials on that trip. Many back door or secret contacts with the more recent Bush, too, especially during times of public conflict. Credited with creating a harmonious relationship between the two countries. (James Mann, LA Times).

On 23 December 2010, Associated Press wrote, “Yang was accused of being caught off guard when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced at a security conference in Vietnam this year that Washington considered the peaceful resolution of South China Sea disputes as part of the American national interest.”

Quotations by/Comments about:

  • Yang Jeichi, quoted in a US Cable dated 18 October 2007. (Referring to the US Congress’ decision to award the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal) Yang said that Chinese citizens do not view the Dalai Lama as a religious leader but as “the mastermind behind separatist sabotage” and the “personification of evil and deception,” whose efforts are “doomed to failure.”
  • Yang Jeichi, March 2009: “In developing relations with China, other countries should not allow the Dalai Lama to visit their countries and should not allow their territories to be used for the Dalai Lama to engage in separatist activities for Tibet’s independence.” (Reuters).
  • Yang Jeichi, March 2009: “The Dalai Lama’s side still insists on establishing a so-called Greater Tibet on a quarter of Chinese territory. They want to drive away Chinese armed forces on Chinese territory and ask all non-Tibetans to relocate themselves, people who have long spent their lives on that part of Chinese territory. You call this person a religious figure? Would Germany, France or other countries accept that a quarter of their territory be separated?” (Reuters).
  • Zhu Weiqun 2009: In response the Dalai Lama’s rebuttal of Yang’s claim in 2009 that the Dalai Lama planned to drive the PLA out of Tibet. Zhu asked a group of foreign journalists to convey the question to HH, “Who is lying, China’s foreign minister or you, the Dalai Lama yourself!”

Yang Jiechi’s Contact Information:

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

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