- Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji [jo͞o′ruŋ′jē′]1928- ; premier of China (1998-2002)
* * *born Oct. 1, 1928, Changsha, Hunan province, ChinaPremier 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, once his Communist Party membership was restored, he rose rapidly. In 1988 he became mayor of Shanghai and in 1991 a deputy premier of the State Council. He was governor of the People's Bank of China (1993–95) and became director of the Institute for Economic Management at Qinghua University in 1994. He was appointed premier in 1998. In the face of the Asian economic crisis at the end of the 1990s, he worked to drastically cut back the size of the government bureaucracy. Zhu, whose economic policies were widely praised, stepped down as premier in 2003 and was replaced by Wen Jiabao.
* * *▪ 2000In April 1999 Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji made his first official visit to the U.S. Among his objectives were improving relations between the two countries and gaining support for China's 13-year effort to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). Although the trip was nearly canceled in the wake of NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia, which China firmly opposed, and allegations that Chinese spies had stolen American nuclear technology, Zhu pressed ahead and earned high marks from many observers for his performance in a decidedly anti-Chinese climate. Met at every stop along his six-city tour by crowds of demonstrators angered by China's poor record on human rights, he willingly fielded questions in an open forum and displayed a frankness and a sense of humour—actions that were a welcome departure from the aloofness of previous visiting Chinese leaders. More important, although an immediate deal for China's entry into the WTO fell through, he reportedly succeeded in gaining the confidence of a number of American business leaders, whose help could prove instrumental in persuading a skeptical U.S. Congress to approve such a deal in the future.Zhu was born on Oct. 1, 1928, in Changsha, Hunan province. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1949. Following his graduation (1951) from Tsinghua University, Beijing, with a degree in electrical engineering, he began work as a deputy division chief with the state planning commission. His career was twice interrupted by periods of exile in rural northwestern China, first from 1958 to 1962 and again in the 1970s. Eventually, however, he earned the favour of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, and by 1988 he had been appointed deputy Communist Party secretary of Shanghai. He was appointed mayor of Shanghai later that same year and was applauded for the progress he made in improving the city's economy by opening its doors to foreign investment. In 1989 he became Shanghai's party secretary, and in 1991 Deng appointed him deputy premier. In 1993 he emerged as a leader of economic reform after putting himself in charge of the People's Bank of China and creating a program that greatly reduced the country's inflation.Zhu was named premier on March 17, 1998. Some observers speculated that he would introduce radical change and even went so far as to dub him “China's Gorbachev.” At a press conference shortly after he took office, he announced a three-year plan to reduce the government and reform the heavily indebted banking system and state-owned enterprises, as well as the housing and health care systems. By mid-1999, while it appeared that his overhaul would be less extreme than previously anticipated, he had made significant progress, which included trimming excesses and cutting the size of the government and military by nearly one million people.Sandra Langeneckart
* * *▪ premier of ChinaWade-Giles romanization Chu Jung-chiborn October 23, 1928, Changsha, Hunan province, ChinaChinese politician who was a leading economic reformer in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He was premier of China from 1998 to 2003.Zhu joined the CCP in 1949. Following his graduation (1951) from Tsinghua (Qinghua) University in Beijing with a degree in electrical engineering, he began work as a deputy division chief with the state planning commission. Though twice exiled to rural northwestern China because of his criticism of Mao Zedong's economic policies, he eventually earned the favour of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and by 1987 had been appointed deputy party secretary of Shanghai. Zhu was named mayor of Shanghai in 1988 and improved the city's economy by opening its doors to foreign investment. In 1989 he became Shanghai's party secretary, and in 1991 Deng appointed him deputy premier. He emerged as a leader of economic reform in 1993 after putting himself in charge of the People's Bank of China and creating a program that reduced the country's inflation. Noted for his pragmatism and no-nonsense approach, Zhu was named premier on March 17, 1998.As premier, Zhu embarked on a plan to reduce the size of government and reform the heavily indebted banking system and state-owned enterprises, as well as the housing and health care systems. He succeeded in cutting the size of government and the military by nearly one million people. Zhu made his first official visit to the United States in April 1999, hoping to improve bilateral relations and gain U.S. support for China's efforts to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). In 2000 the U.S. Congress voted to eliminate the annual congressional review of China's most-favoured-nation status, a move that helped China become a member of the WTO in 2001. Zhu, whose economic policies have been both praised and criticized, stepped down as premier in 2003 and was replaced by Wen Jiabao.
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