Zhu Rongji

Engineer and

Fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China

Zhu Rongji

Zhu Rongji (1928- ), native of Changshan, Hunan Province.

Premier of PRC State Council; Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of 15th CPC Central Committee.

Zhu was nominated as premier of the State Council by President Jiang Zemin and confirmed by the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC) on March 17, 1998 at the NPC First Session. He was reelected Standing Committee member of Political Bureau of 15th CPC Central Committee in September 1997.

Zhu bacame head of the State Steering Group of Science, Technology and Education, 1998; and chairman of Committee for Construction of Three Gorges Project under the State Council, May 1998.

After four years of successful macro-economic controls with curbing inflation as the primary task, an overheated Chinese economy has cooled down to a "soft landing" and a good situation rarely seen in the world has been prevailing in the country. With these achievements, Zhu, acknowledged as an able economic administrator, has become premier of the State Council.

Zhu joined the Communist Party of China in October, 1949.

After graduation from the prestigious Qinghua University, where he majored in electrical engineering, he worked for the Northeast China Department of Industries as deputy head of its production planning office.

During 1952-1958, he worked in the State Planning Commission as group head and deputy division chief.

From 1958 to 1969, Zhu continued to work in the State Planning Commission, as a teacher at a cadre school and an engineer. From 1970 to 1975, he was transferred to work at a "May Seventh Cadre School", a kind of farm for re-education during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1975).

From 1975 to 1979, he served as deputy chief engineer of a company run by the Pipeline Bureau of the Ministry of Petroleum Industry and director of Industrial Economics Institute under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. From 1979 to 1982, he worked for the State Economic Commission as division chief and bureau deputy director. He was appointed member of the State Economic Commission in 1982 and vice-minister in charge of the commission in 1983, where he held the post until 1987 before he was appointed mayor of Shanghai.

The three years of his office as Shanghai mayor saw tremendous changes in the development and opening-up of Pudong, a Singapore-size area wedged between Shanghai proper and the East China Sea, as well as in the city's telecoms, urban construction and transport sectors. For these he won popular respect and acclaim.

In 1991, Zhu became vice-premier of the State Council and director of the State Council Production Office. He has focused his attention on tackling tough economic problems in industry, agriculture and finance.

Soon after he came to Beijing from Shanghai, Zhu launched a drive to disentangle the "debt chains" of state enterprises; he took the lead in eliminating IOUs in state grain purchasing for the sake of farmers. He served concurrently as governor of the central bank to straighten out the financial order. Deng Xiaoping once said that Zhu "has his own views, dares to make decisions and knows economics."

The year of 1992 saw runaway investment in fixed assets, an excessive money supply, soaring prices and a chaotic financial market. With support from Jiang Zemin and Li Peng, Zhu, as vice-premier and head of the State Council Economic and Trade Office, took tough macro-economic control measures. He began by bringing runaway money supply under control, laying a foundation for driving down prices. Zhu did did not advocate overall entrenchment, however.

While he axed low-tech duplicated projects and sectors that would result in "a bubble economy", Zhu backed projects in transport, energy, agriculture and sectors that had promising prospects as new areas of economic growth. Thanks to these measures, the Chinese economy has been able not only to avert violent fluctuations but also maintain a healthy development.

Now Zhu Rongji has turned to reforming state enterprises. His attention is also focused on strengthening agriculture as the economic base of the country and on continuing a moderately tight monetary policy. He faces both opportunities and challenges, observers note. And he has much room to display his talent.

"Strict administration" is a principle he upholds. He deports himself in a calm and unhurried manner, but he is decisive in handling affairs and quick to act. He cannot tolerate a dilatory style of work.

"My criticism is too severe sometimes and that is not good," he once said. "But why don't you start doing your work unless your leader flies into a rage? It is not that you cannot do it but that you don't want to do it." But he declared that he only criticizes people but never fixes anybody.

Zhu also shows his emotional side sometimes. At the 80th anniversary of the founding of Qinghua University, his Alma Mater, Zhu defied fatigue from a long European visit and rushed to the school to offer his greetings.

Between 1993 and 1995, Zhu served as a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, vice-premier of the State Council and concurrently governor of the People's Bank of China. Since 1995, he has kept the positions of Standing Committee member and vice-premier.

He attended the Macao handover ceremony as a member of Chinese Government Delegation in 1999.

Zhu has a good command of English. He is rarely seen speaking from script. His eloquent speech has always riveted the attention of his listeners. Zhu is also a Peking Opera fan.

His wife, Lao An, was once vice-chairman of the board of directors of China International Engineering and Consulting

Corporation. She and Zhu were in the same schools twice, first the Hunan First Provincial Middle School and then Qinghua University.

They have a son and a daughter.