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
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)