Zhu Rongji

Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji in 2001
5th Premier of the People's Republic of China
In office
17 March 1998 – 16 March 2003
President Jiang Zemin
Deputy Li Lanqing
Qian Qichen
Wu Bangguo
Wen Jiabao
Preceded by Li Peng
Succeeded by Wen Jiabao
6th First-ranking Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
In office
29 March 1993 – 17 March 1998
Premier Li Peng
Preceded by Yao Yilin
Succeeded by Li Lanqing
Member of the 14,15th CPC Politburo Standing Committee
In office
19 October 1992 – 15 November 2002
General Secretary Jiang Zemin
9th Governor of the People's Bank of China
In office
July 1993 – June 1995
Preceded by Li Guixian
Succeeded by Dai Xianglong
Member of the
National People's Congress
In office
25 March 1988 – 5 March 2003
Constituency Shanghai At-large (88-93)
Hunan At-large (93-03)
Personal details
Born 23 October 1928 (1928-10-23) (age 83)
Changsha, Hunan, China
Nationality Chinese
Political party Communist Party of China
Spouse(s) Lao An
Alma mater Tsinghua University
Profession Electrical engineer
Zhu Rongji
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese [1]

Zhū Róngjī (pinyin: Zhū Róngjī; Wade-Giles: Chu Jung-chi; IPA: [tʂú ʐʊ̌ŋtɕí]; born 23 October 1928 in Changsha, Hunan) is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.

A tough administrator, his time in office saw the continued double-digit growth of the Chinese economy and China's increased assertiveness in international affairs. Known to be engaged in a testy relationship with General Secretary Jiang Zemin, under whom he served, Zhu provided a novel pragmatism and strong work ethic in the government and party leadership increasingly infested by corruption, and as a result gained great popularity with the Chinese public. His opponents, however, charge that Zhu's tough and pragmatic stance on policy was unrealistic and unnecessary, and many of his promises were left unfulfilled. Zhu retired in 2003, and has not been a public figure since. Premier Zhu was also widely known for his charisma and tasteful humour.


Purges, "rehabilitation", and Deng Xiaoping

Zhu joined the Communist Party of China in October 1949. He graduated from the prestigious Tsinghua University in 1951 where he majored in electrical engineering and became the chairman of Tsinghua Student Union in 1951. Afterwards, he worked for the Northeast China Department of Industries as deputy head of its production planning office.

From 1952 to 1958, he worked in the State Planning Commission as group head and deputy division chief. Having criticized Mao Zedong's "irrational high growth" policies during the Great Leap Forward, Zhu was labeled a "Rightist" in 1958 and sent to work as a teacher at a cadre school. Pardoned (but not rehabilitated) in 1962, he worked as an engineer for the National Economy Bureau of the State Planning Commission until 1969.

During the Cultural Revolution, Zhu was purged again, and from 1970 to 1975 he was transferred to work at a "May Seventh Cadre School," a type of farm used for re-education during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).

From 1975 to 1979, he served as the deputy chief engineer of a company run by the Pipeline Bureau of the Ministry of Petroleum Industry and as the director of Industrial Economics Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

When Deng Xiaoping started economic reforms in 1978, his politic looked for like-minded economic advisors and sought out Zhu. The CPC formally rehabilitated Zhu on the strength of Zhu's forward-thinking and bold economic ideas. His membership in CPC was restored. Deng once said that Zhu "has his own views, dares to make decisions and knows economics."

Career in Shanghai

Zhu went to work for the State Economic Commission (SEC) as the division chief of the Bureau of Fuel and Power Industry and as the deputy director of the Comprehensive Bureau from 1979 to 1982. He was appointed as a member of the State Economic Commission in 1982 and as the vice-minister in charge of the commission in 1983, where he held the post until 1987, before being appointed as the mayor of Shanghai.

As the mayor of Shanghai from 1989 to 1991, Zhu won popular respect and acclaim for overseeing the development of Pudong, a Singapore-sized Special Economic Zone (SEZ) wedged between Shanghai proper and the East China Sea, as well the modernization of the city's telecommunications, urban construction, and transport sectors.

Vice Premiership

In 1991, Zhu became the vice-premier of the State Council, transferring to Beijing from Shanghai. Also holding the post of director of the State Council Production Office, Zhu focused on industry, agriculture and finance, launching the drive to disentangle the "debt chains" of state enterprises. For the sake of the peasantry, he took the lead in eliminating the use of credit notes in state grain purchasing.

Between 1993 and 1995, Zhu served as a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee while retaining his posts as the vice-premier of the State Council and as the governor of the People's Bank of China. From 1995 to 1998, he retained the positions of Standing Committee member and vice-premier.

Concurrently serving as governor of the Central Bank, Zhu tackled the problems of an excessive money supply, rising prices, and a chaotic financial market stemming, in large measure, from runaway investments in fixed assets. After four years of successful macro-economic controls with curbing inflation as the primary task, an overheated Chinese economy cooled down to a "soft landing". With these achievements, Zhu, acknowledged as an able economic administrator, became premier of the State Council.


Zhu has a reputation for being a strong, strict administrator, intolerant of flunkeyism, nepotism, and a dilatory style of work. For his hard work ethic and general truthful and transparent attitude, he is generally considered one of the most popular Communist officials in mainland China.[citation needed]

With support from Jiang Zemin and Li Peng, then president and premier respectively, Zhu enacted tough macroeconomic control measures. Favoring healthy, sustainable development, Zhu expunged low-tech, duplicated projects and sectors that would result in "a bubble economy" and projects in transport, energy and agricultural sectors, averting violent market fluctuations. He focused on strengthening industry, agriculture and on continuing a moderately tight monetary policy. He also started a large privatization program which saw China's private sector grow massively.

President Jiang Zemin nominated Zhu for the position of the Premier of the State Council at the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC), who confirmed the nomination on 17 March 1998 at the NPC First Session. Zhu was re-elected as a member of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto central decision-making group, at the 15th CPC Central Committee in September 1997.

The 1990s were a difficult time for economic management, as unemployment soared in the cities, and the bureaucracy became increasingly tainted with corruption scandals. Zhu kept things on track in the difficult years of the late 1990s, so that China averaged growth of 9.7% a year over the two decades to 2000. Against the backdrop of the Asian financial crisis (and catastrophic domestic floods) mainland China's GDP still grew by 7.9% in the first nine months of 2002, beating the government's 7% target despite a global economic slowdown. This was achieved, partly, through active state intervention to stimulate demand through wage increases in the public sector, among other measures. China was one of the few economies in Asia that survived the crisis.

While foreign direct investment (FDI) worldwide halved in 2000, the flow of capital into mainland China rose by 10%. As global firms scrambled to avoid missing the China boom, FDI in China rose by 22.6% in 2002. While global trade stagnated, growing by one percent in 2002, mainland China's trade soared by 18% in the first nine months of 2002, with exports outstripping imports.

Despite the glowing growth statistics, Zhu tackled deep-seated structural problems: uneven development; inefficient state firms and a banking system mired in bad loans. Observers think there are few substantial disagreements over economic policy in the CPC; tensions focus on the pace of change. Zhu's economic philosophies had often triumphed over that of his colleagues, but it nevertheless resulted in a testy relationship with then-General Secretary Jiang Zemin.

The PRC leadership struggled to modernize State-owned enterprises (SOEs) without inducing massive urban unemployment. As millions lost their jobs as state firms close, Zhu demanded financial safety nets for unemployed workers, an important aim in a country of 1.3 billion. China needs 100 million new urban jobs in the next five years to absorb laid off workers and rural migrants; so far they have been achieving this aim due to high per capita GDP growth. Under the auspices of Zhu and Wen Jiabao (his top deputy and successor), the state tried to alleviate unemployment while promoting efficiency, by pumping tax revenues into the economy and maintaining consumer demand. Zhu has won acclaim domestically and internationally for steering the People's Republic of China into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001.

Critics have charges that there is an oversupply of manufactured goods, driving down prices and profits while increasing the level of bad debt in the banking system. But so far demand for Chinese goods, domestically and abroad, is high enough to put those concerns to rest in the time being. Consumer spending is growing, boosted, in large part, due to longer workers' holidays.

Zhu's right-hand man, Vice Premier Wen Jiabao, oversaw regulations for the stock market and campaigned to develop poorer inland provinces to stem migration and regional resentment. Zhu, and his successor Wen, set limits[citation needed] for taxes imposed on farmers to protect them from high levies by corrupt officials. Well respected by ordinary Chinese citizens, Zhu also holds the respect of Western political and business leaders, who found him reassuring and credit him with clinching China's market-opening World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession,[2] which has brought foreign capital pouring into the country.

Zhu remained as Premier until the National People's Congress met in March 2003, when it approved his struggle to clinch trusted deputy Wen Jiabao as his successor. Wen was the only Zhu ally to appear on the nine-person Politburo Standing Committee. Like his fourth-generation colleague Hu Jintao, Wen's personal opinions are difficult to discern since he sticks very closely to his script. Unlike the frank, strong-willed Zhu, Wen, who has earned a reputation for being an equally competent manager, is known for his suppleness and discretion.[citation needed]

During the 2000 ROC presidential election in Taiwan, Zhu gave the warning "there will be no good ending for those involved in Taiwan independence". In his farewell speech to the National People's Congress, Zhu unintentionally referred to China and Taiwan as two "countries" before quickly correcting himself.[3] His stance on Taiwan during his time in office was always with the Party line.[citation needed]


Zhu Rongji and his wife Lao An (1956)

Zhu has a good command of English. He is rarely seen speaking from a script. In his free time, Zhu enjoys the Peking Opera. According to some reports, Zhu is a 18th generation descendent of Zhu Bian (朱楩), titled Prince of Min (岷王), the 18th son of Hongwu Emperor, the founder of the Ming Dynasty.[4] He has a cousin, Zhu Yunzhong, who was born in 1933 and is a retired doctor.[4] His wife, Lao An, was once vice-chairman of the board of directors of China International Engineering and Consulting. She and Zhu were in the same schools twice, first the Hunan First Provincial Middle School (湖南第一中学) and then Tsinghua University. They have a son and a daughter. His son is Zhu Yunlai, born in 1957.[5]

Zhu is known for his technical intellect. In 1997 at a state banquet in Australia, Zhu left for the bathroom, and was gone quite a while. Concerned security staff finally went off to find him. He was in the bathroom, studying the water-saving dual-flush system which he had just disassembled. As a hydrologist, Zhu grasped the impact such water savings, multiplied by China's huge population, could have on China's infrastructure.[6][7]


Zhu Rongji was noticeably more popular than his predecessor, Li Peng, and some analysts point out that Zhu's tough administrative style in the Premier's office bore a certain resemblance to Premier Zhou Enlai.[citation needed] Zhu, a competent manager and a skilled politician,[citation needed] ran into various roadblocks during his tenure because of the attitude of General Secretary Jiang Zemin. Critics charge that Zhu made too many "big promises" that are unable to be achieved during his term in office.

See also


  1. ^ Due to limitations of the original GB2312 character set, his name has often appeared as 朱熔基. Zhu disapproves of this and prefers the correct version, 朱镕基.
  2. ^ As regards the China's integration into the WTO, see Paolo Farah (2006) Five Years of China’s WTO Membership. EU and US Perspectives on China’s Compliance with Transparency Commitments and the Transitional Review Mechanism, Legal Issues of Economic Integration, Kluwer Law International, Volume 33, Number 3, pp. 263-304.
  3. ^ "China and Taiwan `two countries': Zhu". Taipei Times. 6 March 2003. pp. 3. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2003/03/06/196950. 
  4. ^ a b "Red Star". Time (magazine). 12 April 1999. pp. 3. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,990691-2,00.html. 
  5. ^ 朱鎔基儿子朱云来中金简历简介(照片)
  6. ^ ChinaOnline (2000-12-18). "Dear john: Tapping into China's toilet revolution". ChinaOnline (Chicago, IL). http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/lnacademic/results/docview/docview.do?risb=21_T2060472434&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T2060472437&cisb=22_T2060472436&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=230916&docNo=2. Retrieved 2007-09-14  Unable to find the article on ChinaOnline.com. URL is to a LexisNexis search result which may only be available to subscribers.
  7. ^ Nicholson, Brendan (2001-05-06). "The China syndrome". Sunday Age (Melbourne, Australia): pp. 17. http://www.lexisnexis.com/us/lnacademic/results/docview/docview.do?risb=21_T2060472434&format=GNBFI&sort=RELEVANCE&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T2060472437&cisb=22_T2060472436&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=314239&docNo=5. Retrieved 2007-09-14  Unable to find the article on theAge.com.au. URL is to a LexisNexis search result which may only be available to subscribers.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jiang Zemin
Mayor of Shanghai
1987 – 1991
Succeeded by
Huang Ju
Preceded by
Jiang Zemin
Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Committee
1989 – 1991
Succeeded by
Wu Bangguo
Government offices
Preceded by
Li Guixian
Governor of People's Bank of China
1993 – 1995
Succeeded by
Dai Xianglong
Preceded by
Yao Yilin, Tian Jiyun, Wu Xueqian
Vice-Premier of the State Council
Served alongside: Zou Jiahua, Qian Qichen, Li Lanqing

1993 – 1998
Succeeded by
Li Lanqing, Qian Qichen, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao
Preceded by
Yao Yilin
First-ranking Vice-Premier of the State Council
1993 – 1998
Succeeded by
Li Lanqing
Preceded by
Li Peng
Premier of the People's Republic of China
1998 – 2003
Succeeded by
Wen Jiabao

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Zhu Rongji — (2001) Zhu Rongji und seine Frau Lao An (1956) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Zhu Rongji — [jo͞o′ruŋ′jē′] 1928 ; premier of China (1998 2002) * * * born Oct. 1, 1928, Changsha, Hunan province, China Premier of the State Council of China (1998–2003). In the 1950s he was denounced as a rightist, and he was purged again in the 1970s, but …   Universalium

  • Zhu Rongji — Zhu Rongji,   [dʒu ruȖdʒi], chinesischer Politiker, * Changsha (Provinz Hunan) 1. (20.?) 10. 1928; Elektromaschinenbauingenieur; wurde 1949 Mitglied der KPCh; ab 1952 in der Staatlichen Plankommission tätig, 1958 Parteiausschluss im Rahmen der… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Zhu Rongji — [jo͞o′ruŋ′jē′] 1928 ; premier of China (1998 2002) …   English World dictionary

  • Zhu Rongji — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Zhu. Dans ce nom chinois, le nom de famille, Zhu, précède le prénom. Zhu Rongji 朱镕基 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Zhu Rongji — Este es un nombre chino; el apellido es Zhu. Zhu Rongji (chino simplificado: 朱镕基, chino tradicional: 朱鎔基, pinyin: Zhū Róngjì) (Changsha, 1 de octubre de 1928) es un político chino. Fue primer ministro de la República Popular China durante cinco… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Zhu Rongji — Éste es un nombre chino; el apellido es Zhu. Zhu Rongji (chino simplificado: 朱镕基, chino tradicional: 朱鎔基, pinyin: Zhū Róngjì) (Changsha, 1 de octubre de 1928) es un político chino. Fue primer ministro de la República Popular China durante cinco… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Zhu Rongji — Zhu Ron|gji a Chinese politician who became Prime Minister in 1998 …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Zhu Rongji — Zhu Rong•ji [[t]ˈdʒu ˈrɔŋˈdʒœ[/t]] n. big born 1928, Chinese communist leader: premier since 1998 …   From formal English to slang

  • Zhu Rongji — biographical name 1928 prime minister of China (1998 ) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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