Yu Zhengsheng 俞正声
Chair of CPPCC, Chair Tibet LSG
Chair of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Chair of Tibet Small Leading Group, therefore nominally responsible for Tibet policy
Pronunciation: Yoo Jung-shung (Jung & shung rhyme with ‘lung’) soundbite
Born: 1945. A princeling (and his father was once married to Jiang Qing, who then married Mao Zedong!).
Education: Harbin Military Engineering Institute (studied automated missiles).
Career: Politburo Standing Committee Member 2012 – 2017. Until November 2012 Party Secretary of Shanghai.
Prospects: Appointed Chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in March 2013. Heads Tibet (and Xinjiang) Leading Small Group.
Relevance to Tibet: Nominally in charge of Tibet policy. Regular visitor to Tibetan areas.
Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:
Yu Zhengsheng joined the CCP in 1964 and spent almost twenty years in the electronics industry before joining the Ministry of Electronics Industry in the 1980s.
Served as deputy party secretary and mayor of Yantai City, Shandong Province between 1985–89 and then mayor and party secretary of Qingdao City, Shandong Province from 1987–1997 before returning to Beijing as vice minister then Minister of Construction (1997–2001). Yu was first elected to the Central Committee as an alternate member at the 14th Party Congress in 1992. His career was temporarily stalled by the defection to the United States of his brother, who is an intelligence official.
He became Party Secretary of Shanghai in 2007, replacing Xi Jinping.
In September 2012, the South China Morning Post tipped Yu Zhengsheng, “known for his strong connections and adroit handling of complex relationships,” to take over from Wu Bangguo as chairman of the National People’s Congress, but instead he took the 4th position on the Standing Committee and became Chair of the Chinese People’s Consultative Conference in March 2013. South China Morning Post reported his appointment as Chair of the Tibet and Xinjiang Leading Small Groups in June 2013.
Cheng Li, describing Yu’s family connections as “extraordinary” says he is widely considered a protégé of both Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, agrees Yu is a strong contender for promotion, correctly predicting that he would succeed Jia Qinglin as Chair of CPPCC. Cheng Li wrote: “Based on his previous leadership experiences and recent public speeches, Yu’s hot-button policy issues may include the promotion of the private sector, urban development, legal development, and social reform to promote confidence-building and mutual trust in society.”
From 6-8 January 2013, Yu went on an “inspection tour” of the Kardze area (Sichuan Province). Xinhua reported that Yu “called on monks and nuns to be patriotic and observe the law and monastic rules”. Xinhua wrote:’Yu said he hopes Tibetan Buddhists can cultivate higher religious attainments to enable them to run the monasteries and better guide people in religious practices.’ Also in January 2013, Yu visited representatives of a number of religions in Beijing, including Catholics, Taoists, Muslims and Buddhists (including a Tibetan buddhist college). In August 2013 Yu visited the Tibet Autonomous Region where he reiterated official policy, saying that it was important to “comprehensively implement the ethnic and religious policies of the Communist Party of China and actively guide religions so they adapt to a socialist society” and also that development remains “fundamental and key” to addressing all issues related to Tibet.
November 2013 saw the creation of two major new leading groups led by Xi Jinping, one on “Overall Reform”, and a National Security Committee to oversee, coordinate and monitor the country’s foreign policy as well as the domestic and defence issues related to security. China-watchers have expressed surprised at Yu’s exclusion from the latter. The South China Morning Post provided an explanation courtesy of Wang Jiaxiang, a Beijing-based political analyst. “The CPPCC is a political advisory body outside the party. Yu’s absence reflects the recent reform trend that the CPPCC will become more independent,” he said. One reform being considered was to expand “consultative democracy” outside the party.
In September 2015, on the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the “Tibet Autonomous Region”, Yu Zhengsheng led a 65-person delegation to Tibet to oversee events. Xinhua quoted him as saying: “Tibet has entered a new stage of sustained stability after people of all ethnic groups together fought against separatism, successfully foiling sabotage attempts by the 14th Dalai Lama group and international hostile forces.”
Quotations By/Comments About
- Statements on his visit to Lhasa, August 2013 The Dalai Lama’s so-called “high-degree autonomy” in “Greater Tibet” has “run counter to China’s Constitution, the law, and the fundamental interests of Tibetan Buddhism.” Yu also urged the Tibetan Buddhist circle to “have a clear understanding of the secessionist nature of the Dalai Lama clique and resolutely safeguard national unification, ethnic unity and Tibet’s harmony and stability.”
- Statements on his visit to Kardze, January 2013 “The fight against the Dalai Lama clique should continue”, Mr. Yu said, “in order to create a favourable social and political environment for economic development and the improvement of people’s well-being”.
- The Hindu, quoting the South China Morning Post In a lecture to 5,000 students at a Shanghai university, he said Mao Zedong “made a serious personal mistake” and “shouldn’t have sought such a wrong way out”. He said at least six members of his family died during the Cultural Revolution. His sister killed herself, while his mother reportedly became schizophrenic after a seven-year jail term. His family was targeted because of its aristocratic roots going back to the Qing dynasty.
- Xinhua, March 2013 “We need to more strictly follow the socialist path of political development with Chinese characteristics, not imitate Western political systems under any circumstances, always adhere to the correct political orientation, and strengthen the CPPCC’s ideological and political foundations of collective struggle.”
- China Daily: (When Party Secretary of Hebei, to members of the Hebei Party Committee at the CPPCC) “If you have any questions, bring them up. If you have any problems or any worries, tell us. Only by being frank can we become devoted friends.”
Yu Zhengsheng’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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