Zhou Qiang

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Zhou Qiang
周强
ZhouQiang.jpg
President and Chief Justice of the Supreme People's Court
Assumed office
15 March 2013
Deputy Shen Deyong
Preceded by Wang Shengjun
Communist Party Secretary of Hunan
In office
25 April 2010 – 20 March 2013
Deputy Xu Shousheng (governor)
Preceded by Zhang Chunxian
Succeeded by Xu Shousheng
First Secretary of the Communist Youth League of China
In office
June 1998 – November 2006
Preceded by Li Keqiang
Succeeded by Hu Chunhua
Personal details
Born April 1960 (age 56–57)
Huangmei County, Hubei
Nationality Chinese
Political party Communist Party of China
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhou.

Zhou Qiang (Chinese: 周强; pinyin: Zhōu Qiáng; born April 1960) is the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme People's Court of China. Previously, he served as the secretary of the Communist Party of China Hunan committee, first-in-charge of the central Chinese province.[1] He served as the province's governor between 2007 and 2010. Zhou also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Youth League of China between 1998 and 2006.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Huangmei County, Hubei Province, Zhou grew up during the Cultural Revolution. In 1978, he was part of the first batch of students admitted through the National College Entrance Examinations to the Southwest University of Political Science & Law. Zhou obtained a master's degree in law in 1986. He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) during his studies, in 1983.

In November 1995, he was elected secretary of the central secretariat of the Chinese Communist Youth League (CYL) at the 4th plenary session of the 13th CYL central committee. In June 1998, he was elevated to first secretary of the CYL central secretariat, and was re-elected in July 2003.

In February 2007, Zhou was appointed governor of Hunan, after a five-month period that saw him made a standing committee member and vice secretary of the CPC Hunan committee (September 3), and then acting governor of Hunan (September 30), appointed by the standing committee of the 10th Hunan People's Congress; he resigned as first secretary of the central secretariat of the CYL in December.

He was re-elected governor of Hunan on January 24, 2008.

On April 25, 2010, Zhou, then aged 50, was appointed Communist Party Secretary of Hunan, becoming one of the youngest provincial party chiefs in the country.[2] His rise to power is comparable to that of then-Party general secretary Hu Jintao and then-Vice-Premier Li Keqiang; all three men had background in the Communist Youth League of China.

In March 2013, the NPC installed Zhou as the President of the Supreme People's Court.

Like other top Chinese leaders, Zhou spoke often of promoting the 'rule of law' and was thought aligned with CPC general secretary Xi Jinping's stated ambition to make the court system in China fairer.[3] Indeed, in his first few years in office, Zhou overturned several unjust cases, including the wrongful execution of Nie Shubin in 1995; granted judges more independence; and restricted local officials’ influence over court rulings, despite that ultimately courts at all levels had to answer to the party leadership.[4]

But in 2017, speaking at a Supreme People's Court meeting on January 14, Zhou appeared to reverse course, warning the courts against the 'idea of judicial independence'.[5] He said:

[China's courts] must firmly resist the western idea of “constitutional democracy”, “separation of powers” and “judicial independence”. These are erroneous western notions that threaten the leadership of the ruling Communist Party and defame the Chinese socialist path on the rule of law. We have to raise our flag and show our sword to struggle against such thoughts. We must not fall into the trap of western thoughts and judicial independence. We must stay firm on the Chinese socialist path on the rule of law.[4]

This tougher line dampened democratic spirits and was interpreted as self-protection amid a Communist Party power struggle ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. For instance, if he had to decide whether to allow a case against the government.[4]

Zhou is currently a member of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.[6] He was previously a member of the 16th and 17th Central Committees.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cui, Jia (2010-04-23). "Young official named Hunan Party chief". China Daily. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Zhou Qiang Picked as Head of China's Supreme People's Court". Bloomberg News. March 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c China's Top Judge Warns Against the ‘Threat’ of Judicial Independence, Global Voices, 20 January 2017
  5. ^ []
  6. ^ "List of members of the 18th CPC Central Committee". Xinhua. 2012-11-14. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Wang Shengjun
President of the Supreme People's Court of the People's Republic of China
2013–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Li Keqiang
First Secretary of the Communist Youth League of China
1998–2006
Succeeded by
Hu Chunhua
Preceded by
Zhang Chunxian
Secretary of the Hunan CPC Committee
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Xu Shousheng
Government offices
Preceded by
Zhou Bohua
Governor of Hunan
2006–2010
Succeeded by
Xu Shousheng
Preceded by
Zhang Chunxian
Chairman of Hunan People's Congress Standing Committee
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Xu Shousheng