Non-Communist minister in spotlight

By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-15 06:49

As China's first non-Communist Party minister in more than three decades, Wan Gang's first news briefing on climate change yesterday was a media highlight.

Wan, a member of the China Zhi Gong (Public Interest) Party - a small organization with 15,600 members - was appointed science minister in April by the State Council.

The previous non-Communist minister was Fu Zuoyi, a former Kuomintang general, who was minister of water resources till 1972.

"The biggest challenge for me is the change from a scientist and engineer to an executive officer," Wan said, adding that his appointment was an "important" step in the development of China's political democracy.

But "it's a pity that I cannot continue to work on automobile research and development".

A former automobile engineer at Audi Corporation in Germany, Wan, was president of Shanghai's Tongji University before taking up the current post.

Wan, 55, said he had garnered some experience in multi-party cooperation, because "when I was president of Tongji, I was one of the very few non-CPC presidents of elite Chinese universities."

He is also vice-chairman of the central committee of the Zhi Gong Party.

In the 1950s, a number of non-Communists were appointed ministers in the national cabinet, but they were dismissed during the "anti-rightist" movement.

In recent years, the CPC Central Committee has issued many directives to promote non-CPC members to political positions.

Xinhua contributed to the story

(China Daily 06/15/2007 page1)

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours