Yu Youjun

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Yu Youjun
Governor of Shanxi province
In office
July 2005 – September 2007
Party Secretary Zhang Baoshun
Preceded by Zhang Baoshun
Succeeded by Meng Xuenong
Mayor of Shenzhen
In office
June 2000 – June 2003
Party Secretary Zhang Gaoli
Huang Liman
Preceded by Li Zibin
Succeeded by Li Hongzhong
Personal details
Born January 1953 (age 64)
Feng County, Jiangsu
Nationality Chinese
Political party Communist Party of China
Alma mater Sun Yat-Sen University
Occupation Politician
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Yu.

Yu Youjun (simplified Chinese: 于幼军; traditional Chinese: 于幼軍; pinyin: Yú Yòujūn; born January 1953) is a retired Chinese politician. Among other positions, he was once the Mayor of Shenzhen, Executive Vice-Governor of Hunan province, and Governor of Shanxi province. He resigned as Shanxi governor in 2007, having been promoted to serve as Party Branch Secretary and Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Culture, which would mean his appointment as Minister of Culture would happen soon after the next plenary session.

However, in October 2008 he was unexpectedly removed from the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and put on probation for two years, a disciplinary measure that is considered to be just short of expulsion. He eventually re-joined government as a deputy director of the Office of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project of the State Council. He retired in 2015 and joined the faculty of his alma mater, Sun Yat-Sen University as a full-time professor.

Political career[edit]

A native of Feng County in Jiangsu, Yu holds a doctorate in philosophy. He joined the CPC in June 1976. Working in Guangdong province, he eventually served as the party secretaries of various districts in the city of Guangzhou. From 1994 to 2000 he was a member of the provincial Party Standing Committee and concurrently head of the provincial party organization's propaganda department, holding a sub-provincial level office.

Yu came to prominence as Mayor of Shenzhen, China's first and arguably most successful Special Economic Zone (SEZ), from 1999 to 2003.[1] In November 2002, an 18,000-character essay "Shenzhen, who has abandoned you?" published online by a netizen 'Crazy for her' (wǒwèiyīkuáng) attracted much attention for its comprehensive and data-rich examination of various public policies pertaining to the SEZ and the implications of extending them to other parts of the country.[2] Mayor Yu met with the author of the essay Guo Zhongxiao (呙中校) on January 19, 2003, to discuss his essay and exchange views on Shenzhen and its development. His act was hailed in various media as a great step forward in boosting communication and dialog between high officials and Internet users.[3]

Yu was promoted to Vice Governor of Hunan province and deputy secretary of the Hunan Provincial Party Committee in June 2003. In 2005 he was promoted again to become Governor of the coal-rich province of Shanxi. During his time in Shanxi, he undertook several key initiatives including the closure of several thousand illegal coal mines and the improvement of the environment.[4] Yu was also known for attracting investment into the province, which was credited with fostering the province's explosive economic growth. Yu came onto the international spotlight following the 2007 Chinese slave scandal involving children and migrant workers who were forced to work in kilns located in Shanxi province. He publicly apologized for the mishap and offered a self-criticism, an act virtually unheard of in Chinese politics.[5] Yu resigned as Governor in September 2007, and was succeeded by Meng Xuenong}}.

As part of a wider Party reshuffle in preparation for the formation of the new Cabinet in 2008,[6] Yu resigned his party and government positions in Shanxi in September and October 2007 respectively. He was then appointed the party secretary and Vice Minister of the Ministry of Culture.[7][8] Yu was chosen as a member of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in 2007,

Departure from politics[edit]

Following his assumption of the position of party secretary, Yu Youjun was unexpectedly passed over for promotion to Minister of Culture in the March 2008 Cabinet reshuffle.[9] However, eventually the post went to Cai Wu.[10] In October 2008, during the Third Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection submitted a report on disciplinary offenses committed by Yu, which was approved by the party rank-and-file. Yu was then removed him from the Central Committee; his party membership was also subject to a two-year probationary period.[11] No details on Yu's apparent impropriety were officially confirmed or released, but Hong Kong media speculated that this may have been related to political maneuvering at the Ministerial level.[12][13]

Probation implied that Yu had lost many of his rights as a senior party member including the right to vote for party representatives and the right to stand for party offices. However, according to party rules he could be restored as a full member should he show "remorse" for his actions. He was the only member of the 17th Central Committee to have been given this treatment, which also led to widespread belief that his removal was politically motivated. During his probation, Yu took the time to write two books, one focused on Chinese history from 1919 to 1965, trying to piece together an accurate account of historical events during that time period; the other was entitled The 500 Year History of Socialism. The books were well received and awarded several state awards.[14]

South-North Water Diversion Project[edit]

Yu was officially restored to a government post in February 2011 when he was appointed as deputy director of the Office of South-North Water Transfer Project.[15] This project is widely acknowledged to be largest and most ambitious water diversion project in history, with a budget several times that of the Three Gorges Dam. This indicated that he had re-gained favour and his case was not serious. After taking on the post, Yu routinely inspected and directed work, and helped to complete the East and Middle segments of the massive project.[16]

In January 2015, Yu retired from his government post due to reaching of the mandatory retirement age. State media cited that Yu was the oldest member of the leadership team of the Water Diversion Project. Upon retirement, Yu joined the faculty of his alma mater, Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangdong Province.


  1. ^ "Yu Youjun: A Modern Mayor". BusinessWeek. 2002-12-09. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  2. ^ "Shenzhen, who has abandoned you?". China Elections & Governance. 2003-10-16. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  3. ^ "January 2003: Yu Youjun holds 'once-in-a-century talk' with netizen, makes big step in high official-netizen dialog" (in Chinese). CPC News. 2008-06-22. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  4. ^ Shi, Jiangtao (March 16, 2007). "Governor 'cleans up' the coal industry". South China Morning Post. 
  5. ^ Lague, David (June 23, 2007). "China Tries to Contain Scandal Over Slave Labor With Arrests and Apology". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Many ministries change leading party group secretaries to prepare for new Cabinet" (in Chinese). Wen Wei Po. 2007-09-16. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  7. ^ "Yu Youjun appointed vice culture minister". China Daily. 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  8. ^ "Yu Youjun appointed secretary of the Leading Party Group and the Vice Minister of Culture" (in Chinese). China.org.cn. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  9. ^ "Yang Jiechi and 27 other Cabinet members do well, Yu Youjun's sudden loss raises eyebrows" (in Chinese). Hong Kong China News Agency. 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  10. ^ "Culture Ministry leading party group secretary Yu Youjun rumoured to have been dismissed, implicated in Shenzhen case" (in Chinese). Lianhe Zaobao. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  11. ^ "Yu Youjun removed from CPC Central Committee". Xinhua. 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  12. ^ "Yu Youjun's removal: case revisited several times" (in Chinese). Wen Wei Po. 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  13. ^ "'Star leader' Yu Youjun's downfall: trouble originated in Shenzhen" (in Chinese). Yangtse Evening Post. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  14. ^ "惶惶不可终日 "政坛败将"于幼军届龄退休". January 13, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Yu Youjun appointed as deputy director of the Office of South-to-North Water Diversion Project Commission" (in Chinese). Xinhua. 2011-02-13. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 
  16. ^ "Yu Youjun Investigates Multiple Projects in Changsha". Hunan Provincial Government. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2011-12-31. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Zhang Baoshun
Governor of Shanxi
Succeeded by
Meng Xuenong
Preceded by
Sun Jiazheng
Secretary of the Leading Party Group of the Ministry of Culture
Succeeded by
Cai Wu