|Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress|
14 March 2013
|Preceded by||Wu Bangguo|
|Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China|
17 March 2008 – 16 March 2013
Serving with Li Keqiang
Hui Liangyu, Wang Qishan
|Member of the 16, 17, and 18th Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China|
15 November 2002
|General Secretary||Hu Jintao
|CPC Chongqing Committee Secretary|
16 March 2012 – 20 November 2012
|Preceded by||Bo Xilai|
|Succeeded by||Sun Zhengcai|
1 November 1946 |
Tai'an County, Liaoning, Liaoning
|Political party||Communist Party of China|
|Alma mater||Yanbian University
Kim Il-sung University
Zhang Dejiang (born November 1946) is a high-ranking official in the Communist Party of China (CPC). He currently serves as Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee. He served as Vice-Premier in charge of energy, telecommunications, and transportation. He is also a 3rd ranked member of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee.
Zhang rose to prominence as the party chief of the provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong, where he presided over rapid economic growth. In March 2012, Zhang was appointed to replace Bo Xilai as the party chief of Chongqing.
Zhang, a native of Tai'an County, Liaoning, Liaoning, attended Yanbian University in Yanji, Jilin, where he studied the Korean language. Zhang enrolled in Kim Il-sung University in North Korea in August 1978 and received a degree in economics in 1980. His connections to North Korea and his handling of illegal immigration from that country as a local official in Jilin are believed to be key factors in his rise to power.
Rise to power
Zhang rose to prominence during the era of Jiang Zemin, first in Jilin's Yanbian Prefecture, where he is credited with handling the issue of illegal immigration from North Korea. Zhang accompanied Jiang on a visit to North Korea in March 1990 and was promoted to deputy party secretary for Jilin soon after. Jiang described Yanbian under Zhang as a "model prefecture" later that year. In 1995, he was made party secretary of Jilin.
In 1998, Zhang became party secretary of Zhejiang. Zhang was popular among business leaders in Zhejiang due to his relatively laissez-faire attitude towards private enterprise. Zhang was known for allowing private business to operate freely, within the bounds of the law.
In 2001, Zhang wrote an article attacking the idea of allowing business owners to join the Communist Party, claiming that doing so would ruin the party.
In November 2002, Zhang was transferred to Guangdong to become its party chief. During his tenure in Guangdong Zhang focused on issues such as the private economy, education, and poverty alleviation.
Zhang's appointment came immediately after the start of the SARS crisis. Zhang initially responded to the outbreak by restricting the flow of information to the public about SARS. While Zhang and other leaders in Guangdong were accused of mishandling SARS, they were praised by the World Health Organization and the central government for controlling the spread of the virus locally and the treatment regime employed for SARS patients.
During his five-year tenure, Zhang worked to integrate the economies of the Pearl River Delta. Immediately after arriving in Guangdong, Zhang commissioned studies on increasing economic interdependence among Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan, Hunan, Hainan, and Guangxi. Critics called Pan-Pearl Delta economic integration an empty concept and alleged that Zhang was pushing the policy as a platform for future promotions. A senior journalist said, "Zhang Dejiang is like Liaoning governor Bo Xilai. Bo Xilai manipulates the media to promote himself, while Zhang Dejiang manipulates the media to promote his grandiose plans."
Critics accuse Zhang of suppressing freedom of the press and the right to protest. In addition to being criticised for poor handling of the SARS outbreak, Zhang was blamed for the police shooting of villagers protesting inadequate compensation for seized land in 2005. The shooting incident is believed to have led to as many as 20 deaths. During Zhang's tenure controls on the press were tightened. During this period, many editors left the Southern Daily and the 21st Century World Herald was shuttered.
While planning for Guangzhou's Education Town began in 2000, Zhang approved the project immediately after his appointment to Guangdong and construction started in 2003. Before building began thousands of police and relocation officials armed with electric truncheons, dogs, and helicopters cleared the site of 10,000 villagers. Many villagers complained of inadequate compensation. Local media outlets were banned from reporting negative news about the project and law firms refused to handle compensation cases due to their sensitive nature. Construction was completed in only nine months. Contractors working on the project complained that the completion deadline was too tight and that they could not guarantee the quality of their work. Numerous artifacts believed to date to the Western Han Dynasty were found during construction but archaeologists were usually not allowed to enter the construction site. Zhang said of the rapid progress, "It's a modern urban construction management miracle." In 2004 a group of villa owners whose homes were confiscated in order to build the Guangzhou University Town threatened to sue Zhang, along with other officials, for abusing their authority. The property owners claimed that their homes were seized in order to provide premium land for property development.
In 2005, Leung Kwok-hung, also known as "Long Hair," created a stir when he carried apples to Guangdong to present to Zhang as a gift. The apples were a reference to the banning of reporters from the anti-Communist Apple Daily newspaper from attending the visit of Hong Kong lawmakers to Guangdong. During the same trip, Leung Kwok-hung was not allowed to present a letter to Zhang. During the same trip, another legislator expressed support for independent labor unions in mainland China. Zhang responded that China would not allow independent labor unions because it did not want a Polish-style revolution.
It is widely believed that Zhang owes his appointment as Guangdong party chief to Jiang Zemin but is not considered a part of the "Shanghai gang" surrounding Jiang. There is speculation that Zhang was allowed to remain in power in Guangdong because he switched allegiances in favor of Hu Jintao during the leadership struggle in 2003. Critics of Zhang say he obtained power through his good relationships with senior leaders instead of real achievements.
During the July 2011 Wenzhou train collision, Zhang, in his capacity as Vice-Premier in charge of transportation, was dispatched to Wenzhou to lead the search and rescue efforts on directives from President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Independent sources said that he set up his 'headquarters' at the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Wenzhou, instead of at the crash scene itself. He shouldered some responsibility for the botched handling of the rescue operations.
Zhang was appointed to lead Chongqing's party committee in March 2012 following the removal of Bo Xilai as local party chief. Li Yuanchao, head of the party's Organization Department, said Zhang's appointment as party secretary was made through "discreet consideration." Li said that, "Comrade Zhang Dejiang is politically competent, fair, righteous, democratic and responsible."
Immediately after taking office in Chongqing, Zhang made statements to ease the concerns of the business community. Speaking to a delegation led by Wang Jen-tang, head of Taiwan's Acer Group, Zhang said, "Chongqing has achieved remarkable economic and social development since becoming a municipality [in 1997]. One valuable lesson we have learned is that we need to stick to reform and opening up." Zhang also said that Chongqing welcomed investment from overseas.
Chongqing's newspapers all featured the details of Zhang's resume immediately after his appointment. During a televised government meeting Chongqing's mayor, Huang Qifan, expressed his support for Zhang. Huang was a close ally of Bo. Civil servants in Chongqing were called to meetings where they were required to pledge allegiance to the municipalities new leadership. During the same meetings, officials were told to make social and political stability their top priorities.
Zhang was appointed a member of the decisions-making Politburo Standing Committee at the 18th Party National Congress held in November 2012. A few days later, he was replaced by Sun Zhengcai as party chief of Chongqing. He is expected to take over as Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in 2013 replacing Wu Bangguo.
- Mimi Lau (16 March 2012). "Zhang on the ascent as he takes Chongqing post; Conservative vice-premier appears tipped to join top ruling body after party bosses' vote of confidence". South China Morning Post.
- Chow Chung-yan (23 October 2007). "Zhang Dejiang: Bumpy ride in the fast lane". South China Morning Post.
- Mimi Lau, (16 Mar 2012). "Chongqing post". South China Morning Post.
- Choi Chi-yuk (21 March 2012). "Waiting game for business after Bo; Chongqing entrepreneurs are keeping a close watch for any signs of policy change under new party boss before they invest any more in the municipality". South China Morning Post.
- Leu Siew Ying (6 December 2003). "Guangdong's leaders pass muster; The Sars crisis and political ambitions aside, Huang Huahua and Zhang Dejiang are getting on with the job of driving economic growth in the southern province". South China Morning Post.
- Leu Siew Ying (31 May 2004). "Forum sows seeds for new powerhouse". South China Morning Post.
- Gary Cheung (2 June 2004). "Guangdong will give its all for HK, Macau: party chief". South China Morning Post.
- Leu Siew Ying (9 August 2004). "A hunting ground for knowledge". South China Morning Post.
- Staff (26 August 2004). "Evicted college town residents threaten lawsuits". South China Morning Post.
- Chow Chung-yan and Winnie Yeung (26 September 2005). "'Long Hair' keeps up the antics despite the attention of officials". South China Morning Post.
- "What it meant to be back over the border". South China Morning Post. 28 September 2005.
- Malcolm Moore (16 March 2012). "China forces party secretary out of office; Was in line for role on powerful Politburo". National Post.
- "President confers Hilal-i-Pakistan on Chinese Vice Premier". The Balochistan Times. 9 June 2010.
- Niu, Ben (29 July 2012). "传张德江下令停止搜救". Duowei. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
- Teddy Ng (23 March 2012). "New Chongqing boss reassures investors; Zhang Dejiang soothes nerves in the business community after Bo Xilai's dismissal by vowing to continue with reforms and opening up". South China Morning Post.
- Choi Chi-yuk (17 March 2012). "Chongqing papers print Zhang's CV". South China Morning Post.
- Choi Chi-yuk (18 March 2012). "ll change after Bo's downfall; Chongqing civil servants pledge allegiance to their new leadership and prepare for major reshuffles, with the city's propaganda department a likely target". South China Morning Post.
- Zhang's page on Xinhua (Chinese)
|Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee
|Party political offices|
|CPC Jilin Committee Secretary
|CPC Zhejiang Committee Secretary
|CPC Guangdong Committee Secretary
|CPC Chongqing Committee Secretary