Zhang Dejiang 张德江
Chair, National People’s Congress
Politburo Standing Committee Member 2012 – 2017
Pronunciation: Jahng Duh-jeeyahng soundbite
Born: 1946. Comes from an area with a large population of ethnic Koreans; official biographies describe him as Han. A princeling (Father a PLA general).
Education: Studied economics at Kim Il Sung University, North Korea.
Career: Politburo Standing Committee Member. Formerly one of 4 Vice-Premiers of the State Council, from March 2012 to November 2012 Zhang replaced Bo Xilai as Party Secretary of Chongqing. His career has been affected by some controversy: SARS cover-up, harsh treatment of protesters and media, but his reputation has clearly recovered.
Prospects: Was promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s paramount authority, in 2012 and appointed Chair of the National People’s Congress in March 2013. Likely to retire in 2017/18.
Relevance to Tibet: One of China’s most senior leaders.
Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:
According to Cheng Li, Zhang studied Korean language at Yanbian University in Yanji, Jilin Province between 1972 and 1975 and worked as a party official at the university before going to North Korea to study economics at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang. He returned to a position at Yanbian in the early 1980s and served as Deputy Party Secretary of Yanji City (1983–85) and of Yanbian Prefecture, Jilin Province (1985–86).
In 1986 he served in Beijing as Vice Minister of Civil Affairs (1986–90). In 1990 he accompanied Jiang Zemin on a visit to North Korea, soon after which he returned to Jilin Province, eventually becoming Party Secretary of Jilin in 1995 and Zhejiang Province in 1998.
In 2002, soon after the outbreak of SARS, Zhang was appointed Party Secretary of Guangdong, where he is understood to have restricted information about the epidemic. He became one of 4 Vice Premiers of the State Council in 2008 (Zhang has energy, telecommunications, and transportation in his portfolio), and in March 2012 was parachuted into Chongqing to take over from the disgraced Bo Xilai; a position subsequently passed to Sun Zhengcai in November 2012.
Zhang has been described as a protégé of Jiang Zemin (his promotion in Jilin coming soon after the 1990 visit to North Korea). The South China Morning Post, which described Zhang as “Jiang’s trusted ally”, (dubbed “Mr Reliable”) had predicted that Zhang would inherit the Chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee from another Jiang ally, Jia Qinglin, but this role went to Yu Zhengsheng.
Zhang Dejiang’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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