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China ushers in new cabinet leadership

Updated: 2013-03-17 20:54

State Councilors: Pooling wisdom

A look into the newly appointed State Councilors Yang Jing, Chang Wanquan, Yang Jiechi, Guo Shengkun and Wang Yong reveals great diversity in their careers and expertise.

Yang Jing spent many years working in the Inner Mongolian autonomous region before chairing the State Ethnic Affairs Commission. He is a member of the Secretariat of the 18th CPC Central Committee. Chang Wanquan rose from the army and became a member of the CPC Central Military Commission since 2007. Yang Jiechi is an experienced diplomat and served as minister of foreign affairs between 2007 and 2013.

Guo Shengkun was Party secretary of a State-owned enterprise (SOE) and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region before becoming minister of public security. Wang Yong came from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission with rich experience in SOE management.

Yang Jing is also secretary-general of the State Council, while Chang Wanquan is Minister of national defense and Guo Shengkun is Minister of public security.

All five were born in or after 1949, the year when the People's Republic of China was founded. Analysts say their relatively young ages, vast rank-and-file experience, diverse expertise, strong support for China's reform and opening up and broad global vision will contribute to their job performance.

"They are expected to face many new challenges, as the nation has entered a new stage of development that requires greater focus on coordinated development between the economy, society and environment," said Zhang Boli, vice president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

Born in 1949, Chang Wanquan is the oldest among the new State Councilors, while 58-year-old Wang Yong is the youngest.

All five have been honed by their grassroots experience. Chang was enrolled in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) at the age of 19 and promoted to general and member of the Central Military Commission in more 30 years. Yang Jiechi started his career as an apprentice worker at an ammeter factory in Shanghai, while Yang Jing worked in a farm machinery factory in Inner Mongolia. In their youth, both Guo Shengkun and Wang Yong were sent by Chairman Mao Zedong to the countryside to learn from their rural counterparts.

"It is this land that has steeled us and made us tough," said Wang Yong during a 2009 visit to the Heilongjiang Production and Construction Corps, where he once worked.

The new lineup of State Councilors boasts a strong educational background. Yang Jiechi has studied in the United Kingdom and holds a doctorate in history, while Guo Shengkun holds a doctorate in management and Wang Yong holds a master's degree in engineering.

Cai Jiming, director of Tsinghua University's Political Economy Research Center, said the councilors' knowledge, which encompasses both liberal arts and natural science, will better gird them for a changing society in China.

The five are known for their energetic work and outstanding achievements.

Yang Jing, an ethnic Mongolian, vehemently pushed for the development of a circular economy, environmental protection and national unity while he was chairman of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region between 2004 and 2008.

During his tenure, Inner Mongolia's economic growth remained among the best of all Chinese provinces and regions.

Chang Wanquan served as director of the PLA General Armament Department from 2007 to 2012. During his tenure, Chang Wanquan directed four manned space missions, launching the Shenzhou-7, Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and Tiangong-1 orbiting lab module into space.

Yang Jiechi has been dispatched to the United States three times as a diplomat and was an ambassador between 2000 and 2004. He was credited for his efforts to ease tensions between the two countries following a 2001 mid-air collision between a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet in the South China Sea.

Guo Shengkun was Party secretary of south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region between 2007 and 2012. He helped the region weather difficulties brought about by the global financial crisis by opening the region up and strengthening regional cooperation.

Wang Yong was appointed director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine following a tainted baby formula milk scandal that occurred in 2008. He introduced a raft of powerful food safety measures, including the abolishment of national inspection exemptions previously provided to food manufacturers.


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