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Wu Bangguo, chairman of NPC Standing Committee
By (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2004-02-27 11:44

Wu Bangguo was elected chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) yesterday to succeed former Chairman Li Peng as the leader of the standing committee of China's supreme State power.

Reviewing the history of his career, Wu Bangguo has already served as a State-owned enterprise technician, factory director and manager to provincial and municipal leading members and now as a State leader.

Born in 1941, Wu's family comes from Feidong in Anhui province. After graduating from the Radio Electronics Department of Tsinghua University in 1967, he was assigned to work at the Shanghai No 3 Electron Tube Factory as an operator, potter and furnaceman, toiling day and night with ordinary workers. Until assuming his post as a standing committee member of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), his five-member, three-generation family had been living in an 11-square metre apartment room.

Such hard working and living experiences have enabled him to develop strong feelings for ordinary people. He has developed a work style of handling concrete matters concerning people at the grassroots in a down to earth way, and is always ready to communicate with the people. After becoming the secretary of the CPC Municipal Committee of Shanghai, the country's largest municipality, local residents affectionately called him the "secretary of the common people.''

Since 1978, Wu Bangguo has served as deputy manager of the Shanghai Electronic Elements Company, deputy manager of the Shanghai Electron Tube Company, and deputy Party secretary of the Shanghai Instruments and Meters and Telecommunications Industrial Bureau.

In early 1983, Wu, turning 42, became a Standing Committee member of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee and concurrently Party secretary of the Shanghai Science and Technology Work Committee. In 1985, he assumed the position of deputy secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, assisting the work of Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji.

From March 1991 to September 1994, Wu was secretary of CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee. He inherited the basic thoughts of Jiang Zemin and other former leaders of Shanghai, and, on the basis of the good foundations laid by his predecessors, he seized the opportunities resulting from the important speech made by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping during his trip to southern China on the opportunities for the development of Pudong, and scored the goal of "bringing about great changes in Shanghai within three years'' set out by Deng Xiaoping under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at the core and with the CPC Central Committee's support.

During this period, he always bore in mind issues concerning the people, such as inadequate toilet and heating facilities, and raised funds through land leasing and other means to solve the city's housing shortage.

In October 1992, having been a CPC member for 28 years, Wu was elected a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee at the First Plenary Session of the 14th CPC National Congress, and became a member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CPC and was transferred to work in the central leadership. In the following March, he was appointed vice-premier of the State Council, becoming involved in decision-making and managing major Party and State issues.

In September 1997, he was re-elected as a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee at the First Plenary Session of the 15th CPC National Congress, and appointed for another term as vice-premier in March 1998.

For a long period of time, Wu took charge of work in economics and trade, transport and communications, energy, information industry, national defence industry, labour and social security, production safety and the Three Gorges Project. He also served concurrently as secretary of the Central Work Committee of Large Enterprises.

During his eight-year tenure as vice-premier, Wu scrupulously stuck to his commitment of "serving the grassroots, doing practical and substantial things for the people, never seeking any personal gain, never being lazy, and never evading responsibility,'' and had always been dedicated to his work. His 16-year work experience in State-owned enterprises (SOEs) enabled him to deeply understand the advantages and disadvantages of SOEs which hold a dominant position in Chinese economy.

It was the most difficult period for China's SOEs in the first few years when he assumed the duty of supervising work concerning their development. In 1998, the aggregate profit of all State-owned and State-controlled industrial enterprises hit a historical low of 52.5 billion yuan (US$6.3 billion).

Wu conducted a great amount of research and study in order to save the SOEs through reform and development. Over a few years, he left his footprints in more than 80 per cent of China's oil and gas fields, inspected all of the SOEs which are critical to national economy and the people's livelihood, and went down coal mines almost every year.
In 1999, he accompanied CPC General Secretary Jiang Zemin on investigative and research trips to various localities throughout the country to find ways to help invigorate large and medium-sized SOEs, which contributed to the formulation of the decisions by the CPC Central Committee on some major issues on the reform and development of SOEs.

He resolutely carried out directives from the CPC Central Committee and focused on the work of turning losses into profits and getting rid of various industries' difficulties. With a concerted national effort, directed by the central leadership, the aggregate profit of State-owned and State-controlled enterprises reached 240.8 billion yuan (US$29 billion) by 2000, which quadrupled SOEs' profits in just three years, fulfilling the three-year target for SOEs as scheduled for them to get rid of difficulties through reforms. In 2002 the figure reached 263.6 billion yuan (US$31.8 billion), a record high for three consecutive years. To accomplish these achievements, Wu had made painstaking efforts and spent many sleepless nights.

Wu is deeply concerned about the needs of working people and their well-being is his priority. He went to those under-resourced mines, military and civil industrial enterprises in outlying mountains and deep forests, and visited families of needy workers and miners. When formulating policies and giving guidance, the first thing he takes into account is how to ensure that laid-off and retired workers can receive their basic living allowances or pensions in full and on time, and how to guarantee that poorer urban residents are ensured basic living standards.

He deeply understands what Jiang Zemin meant by saying that "employment is the foundation of people's livelihood.'' As a result, he once again led the heads of a dozen central government departments on special-topic investigative tours last year of five provinces and municipalities in an effort to promote re-employment, thus contributing to the formulation of China's first pro-active employment policy.

In November 2002, Wu was elected a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and became a member of the new generation of the collective central leadership. Since then, he has been even busier with his work than ever before. Over the brief period between December 28 to 31 last year, he was seen conferring with leaders of some large enterprises on the SOE reform, hearing reports from the Ministry of Railways, going to the launching site of the Shenzhou No 4 Spaceship, and chairing a meeting of the State Council's Safety Production Committee. All this indicates that he is a diligent and pragmatic leader who works hard and efficiently.

Moreover, Wu makes strict demands of his children and other family members. When his son and daughter were at school and started to work, no one knew who their father was, except for a few classmates or colleagues. He is highly principled with his staff and has deep feelings for them.

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