Li Changchun

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Li.
Li Changchun
Li Changchun.jpg
Chairman of the CPC Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization
In office
15 November 2002 – 18 January 2013
Deputy Liu Yunshan
Liu Yandong
General Secretary Hu Jintao
Preceded by Ding Guangen
Succeeded by Liu Yunshan
Communist Party Secretary of Guangdong
In office
Preceded by Xie Fei
Succeeded by Zhang Dejiang
Personal details
Born February 1944 (age 70)
Dairen, Kwantung Leased Territory
Nationality Chinese
Political party Communist Party of China
Alma mater Harbin Institute of Technology
Li Changchun
Traditional Chinese 李長春
Simplified Chinese 李长春

Li Changchun (born February 1944) was the propaganda chief of the Communist Party of China.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4] Li served briefly as the Party chief in the agricultural province of Henan in the 1990s.[3] Jiang Zemin sent him to serve as Guangdong Party Secretary, where he cracked down on corruption to "put the house in order."[5]

Li was promoted to the Politburo of the Communist Party of China in 1998, and made a member of its Standing Committee after General Secretary Jiang Zemin's retirement in 2002.[6]

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.[7] 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.[7]

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.[7]

In October 2007, the Communist Party of China announced that Li would serve another term as Propaganda Chief.[8]

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."[9] 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."[9]

Propaganda Work[edit]

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".[10] Li approved the construction of the National Museum in 2006 after a series of disputes and delays about the building of the museum.[11] He was the guest of honor at the opening of the National Center for the Performing Arts.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

WikiLeaks Controversy[edit]

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.[15] 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, he found "results critical of him."[15]

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".[16]


  1. ^ "#19: Li Changzhun". The World's Most Powerful People (Forbes). 2009-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Li Changchun". Xinhua. 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  3. ^ a b "Li Changchun". China's Leaders (BBC News). 2004. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  4. ^ Kristof, Nicholas (14 June 1989). "TURMOIL IN CHINA; Moderates Appear on Beijing TV, Easing Fears of Wholesale Purge". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Escobar, Pepe (2005-01-25). "Guangdong, the unstoppable 'world's factory'". Sinoroving (Asia Times). Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  6. ^ Tien, Hung-mao; Zhu, Yunghan (2000). China under Jiang Zemin. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-55587-927-3. 
  7. ^ a b c Andrew Nathan, Bruce Gilley, "China's New Rulers: The Secret Files; Second, Revised Edition," New York Review of Books, Oct 31, 2003, pp. 120-121
  8. ^ Kahn, Joseph (22 October 2011). "Politburo in China Gets Four New Members". New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Shirk, Susan. "China: Fragile Superpower: How China's Internal Politics Could Derail Its Peaceful Rise," Oxford University Press, Apr 16, 2007, p. 94
  10. ^ "Briefly: Journalists are urged to hew to party line - Asia - Pacific - International Herald Tribune". New York Times. 25 October 2006. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Kahn, Joseph (24 December 2007). "Chinese Unveil Mammoth Arts Center". New York Times. Retrieved 17 May 2011. 
  13. ^ Barboza, David (29 August 2008). "Chinese Extravaganza Uses Valley as a Backdrop". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Wong, Edward (22 May 2009). "Showing the Glimmer of Humanity Amid the Atrocities of War". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Glanz, James; Markoff (2010-12-04). "China's Battle with Google: Vast Hacking by a China Fearful of the Web". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-06.  |first2= missing |last2= in Authors list (help)
  16. ^ James Fallows (2010-12-04). "'Too Good to Check': Google and the Chinese Propaganda Boss". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Hou Zongbin
Secretary of the CPC Henan Committee
Succeeded by
Ma Zhongchen
Preceded by
Xie Fei
Secretary of the CPC Guangdong Committee
Succeeded by
Zhang Dejiang
Preceded by
Ding Guangen
Chairman of the CPC Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization
Succeeded by
Liu Yunshan
Leader of the Leading Group for Propaganda and Ideological Work
Political offices
Preceded by
Quan Shuren
Governor of Liaoning
Succeeded by
Yue Qifeng
Preceded by
Cheng Weigao
Governor of Henan
Succeeded by
Ma Zhongchen
Preceded by
Lin Xiao
Chairman of the Henan People's Standing Congress
Succeeded by
Ren Keli
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Jia Qinglin
Conference Chairman
5th Rank of the Communist Party of China
17th Politburo Standing Committee
Succeeded by
Xi Jinping
Vice President
Preceded by
Wu Guanzheng
Discipline Secretary
8th Rank of the Communist Party of China
16th Politburo Standing Committee
Succeeded by
Luo Gan
Political and Legislative