|Chairman of the CPC Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization|
15 November 2002 – 18 January 2013
|General Secretary||Hu Jintao|
|Preceded by||Ding Guangen|
|Succeeded by||Liu Yunshan|
|Member of the 16,17th CPC Politburo Standing Committee|
15 November 2002 – 15 November 2012
|General Secretary||Hu Jintao|
|CPC Guangdong Committee Secretary|
|Preceded by||Xie Fei|
|Succeeded by||Zhang Dejiang|
|Member of the
National People's Congress
6 June 1983
|Constituency||Liaoning At-large (83-93)
Henan At-large (93-98)
Guangdong At-large (98-08)
Sichuan At-large (08-)
|Born||1944 (age 69–70)
Dairen, Kwantung Leased Territory
|Political party||Communist Party of China|
|Alma mater||Harbin Institute of Technology|
Li Changchun (born February 1944) was the propaganda chief of the Communist Party of China. He was the member of the 16th and 17th Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, China's de facto top power organ, since 2002. He also served as Chairman of the CPC Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization, de facto Head of propaganda and media relations. Previously he had served in Liaoning, Henan and Guangdong.
Li Changchun was born in February 1944 in modern-day Dalian, Liaoning, then administered by the Empire of Japan as "Dairen", Kwantung Leased Territory. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1965 and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from the Harbin Institute of Technology in 1966. In 1983, at age 39, he became the youngest mayor and Party secretary of a major city, of Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning. In 1987, he became governor of the province, a post he kept until 1990. As governor, mainland China's first expressway was built in the province, linking the cities of Shenyang and Dalian.
After Zhao Ziyang was purged from the party leadership in 1989 during the fallout from the Tiananmen Square protests that same year, Li was initially also thought to have been removed from the leadership because he was a supporter of Zhao. Li's appearance on state television weeks later showed that this was not the case. Li served briefly as the Party chief in the agricultural province of Henan in the 1990s. Jiang Zemin sent him to serve as Guangdong Party Secretary, where he cracked down on corruption to "put the house in order."
There was a chance in 2002 that Li may have become premier, but they were damaged by some of the enemies of his political allies, Jiang Zemin and Li Peng. For example, Li was caught up in an "export rebate fraud" scandal uncovered in the Guangdong coastal city of Shantou in 2000, and criticized by Zhu Rongji for failing to detect the scam. Li was also harmed by his extension of political favors to Jiang Zemin's female friends. Li recommended Huang Liman, who was considered incompetent by other officials, and her husband had business interests in Shenzhen, a special economic zone near to Hong Kong. Although Li helped Huang to please Jiang, his enemies still used it against him.
Jiang nevertheless made sure to secure Li's promotion to the Politburo Standing Committee, though in 2002 he was "the sole member of the PBSC without a specific post in the cabinet of Party bureaucracy," and was initially simply charged with supervising the Party organs that deal with propaganda and ideology.
In October 2007, the Communist Party of China announced that Li would serve another term as Propaganda Chief.
There were high hopes among some in media circles that Li would signal a more liberal change from the strictures of former propaganda chief Ding Guangen. Li had made a major speech advocating that media stay "close to the public" and to real events, "instead of mechanically following Party directives." The hopes were short-lived however, though, after the Central Propaganda Department began closing newspapers, firing journalists, and would not allow foreign companies to produce content for TV stations in China. Many editors were punished and Li Changchun "started sounding and acting like another Ding Guangen."
He contributes heavily to China's censorship campaign of propaganda and frequently orders media to downplay or not report on certain events. He currently holds no other official position. In 2006, he told the members of the All-China Journalists Association to "closely encircle the overall work of the party and state". Li approved the construction of the National Museum in 2006 after a series of disputes and delays about the building of the museum. He was the guest of honor at the opening of the National Center for the Performing Arts.
Li has put his support behind a number of creative projects that might otherwise have been censored by the government. He supported Zen Shaolin, a music, dance and martial arts show intended to increase tourism that opened in 2007 in Henan, despite the producers concerns that a celebration of religion and sacred music would be opposed by the government. Li allowed a 2009 movie Nanking! Nanking! by Lu Chuan to continue running in theaters in the face of strong pressure from nationalists who objected to the sympathetic characterization in the film of a Japanese soldier. The film was one of ten chosen to help commemorate 60 years of Communist rule.
In December 2010, one of the leaked United States diplomatic cables quoted a contact that claimed Li Changchun and fellow Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang oversaw Beijing's cyber attack against Google. According to another leaked cable, Li was taken aback to discover that he could conduct Chinese-language searches on Google’s main international Web site. When Li typed his name into the search engine at google.com, he found "results critical of him."
James Fallows of The Atlantic later questioned the accuracy of the claim. He noted "[e]ven the author of the State Department cable is careful to say that the U.S. government cannot confirm the report".
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- Johnson, Ian (4 April 2011). "CULTURE AND CONTROL; At China's Grand New Museum, History Toes the Party Line". New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
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- Glanz, James (2010-12-04). "China's Battle with Google: Vast Hacking by a China Fearful of the Web". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-06.
- James Fallows (2010-12-04). "'Too Good to Check': Google and the Chinese Propaganda Boss". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2010-12-04.