Wen Jiabao

Former Premier of China

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  • In-Country Power
  • International Power
  • Respect
  • Military Strength
  • Intelligence
  • Special Skill: Resource Acquisitions

Official Stats

  • Official Title: Premier of the People's Republic of China
  • Government: One-Party State
  • Years Left in Office: To 2012
  • Political Classification: Right
  • Education: BS/MS in Geo-mechanics
  • Age: 74 (born September 15, 1942)

Wen Jiabao Facts and Information

Important Points

  • Wen is essentially a very powerful 2nd in command of China
  • Wen has shifted China's domestic policy to deal with more social issues
  • Wen has mostly focused on resource acquisition in his foreign affairs dealings
  • However, Wen increasingly does high-level diplomatic work for China abroad too
  • Know who is Hu, and when to say Wen!

The Rundown

Wow! I can’t say enough about the unlimited energies and non-stop political action of Wen Jiabao! This dude may be the 2nd in command in China, but he has the top slot in international kick-ass as far as the Avenger is concerned! Soft-spoken, mild-tempered, and with a killer work ethic that would put Bill Gates to shame, Wen is certainly a mover and shaker on the world stage that you should know. Why? Cuz he’s affecting your world, people!

So who is this dude? No! Hu is the President! This is Wen we are talking about here. And Wen wears many hats too: he is in the top tier of the Communist Party ruling council, Wen is the Premier of China, essentially the head of the operational government, and is kind of the top ranking cabinet member of the President too. I think of Wen as one part Commie Party leader, one part Prime Minister, one part Secretary of State, and one part Vice-president. That’s a lot of parts!

Just like his boss Hu Jintao, Wen originally studied engineering and made his way up the political chain through intense work ethic and quiet patience. Just like Hu, Wen spent a lot of his career out in the rural areas of China. And just like Hu, because of all these factors, Wen is seen as much more a ‘man of the people’ who is more in touch with the needs of China’s 1.4 billion citizens. He is fiercely proud of his country, and genuinely cares about the needs of the people. [sniff, sniff] I’m getting all teared up here.  Okay, enough of the gushing. A “populist” is what political scientists would call Wen, and he has been dubbed “the people’s premier” by locals and foreigners alike….for his populist approach and commoner image….again, much like Hu Jintao. But I digress….

Domestically, Wen has helped oversee and manage the huge economic growth spurt that China has undergone in the last decade. He has earned a reputation for meticulousness, competence, and a focus on tangible results…and damn if he has not got them results too. China is now the 3rd biggest economy in the world! Growing at a blistering rate! But with big growth has come big problems, and Wen has been ponying up to the responsibility. In fact, in his role as the primary leader of the domestic governmental issues, Wen has shifted focus from China’s ‘economic growth at all costs’ goal to focusing on more social issues like the growing wealth disparity, rural poverty, public health, drug addiction, public education, environmental destruction, and even openly tackling AIDS as a major (and previously not talked about) problem for the country.

As the main public face of China (he is on TV more than his boss), Wen also does a hell of a lot of on-the-ground visits across the country promoting programs and listening to the needs of the peoples. Wen studied catastrophic theory while garnering his college degrees in engineering and geological sciences…which has served him well as the johnny-on-the-scene for the multiple earthquakes, snowstorms, floods and other natural disasters that have befallen China under his watch. And his quick actions and attentive demeanor have made all the difference in keeping public support for the current administration extremely high, even under deadly destructive disasters. (In contrast, compare the public debacle that befell the Bush administration after Hurricane Katrina).

Dudes, he even is trying to make the Chinese government more transparent too! After the SARS scare (which the government tried to cover up) and ongoing health problems due to lack of product regulation (there was a big tainted baby formula scandal), Wen has called for more openness and information sharing from the government. Dudes! That is new! Wen has even gone live on-line to do Q&A session direct with the Chinese public…that is crazy! No other high-ranking official in China, (or hell, even in the US) does stuff like that! He even has one of the most visited and most popular Facebook pages ever too! Wen on the web! Totally tight! This is the beginning of a whole new type of leadership for the one-party state. Let’s hope it lasts.

However, it is Wen’s international instigations that interest me most….and is what makes him a world events mover and shaker and shaper. He has spent the last decade in an international blitzkrieg of visits to virtually every part of the globe….mostly with an eye towards resource acquisitions and cutting sweet trade deals. What is resource acquisition? A fancy way of saying ‘buying tons of shit’! In order for China to continue its phenomenal double-digit economic growth, it needs energy and raw materials to keep the factories working…and Wen has been bringin’ home the bacon, baby! Buying raw resources for cheap, and then setting up sweet trade deals in order to establish markets for all the stuff China is making. Win-win-Wen!

And in a very savvy foreign policy move, he has mostly focused on the developing countries (read: poorer).  He has been personally responsible for strengthening trade relations with key energy and commodity producers in Africa, Central Asia, and Latin America (which especially irks the US since they have been losing influence south of their border for years). Wen brings good business, good trade, and good aid to lots of places on planet earth that have historically been ignored or abused by the other big powers….and this is setting up China as a very appealing alternative option for countries to partner with. The US and Europe are rightly worried….and they should be. The world is being re-shaped quickly, and Wen is one of the guys responsible for the recasting.

So who cannot love Wen? Well, now that I’ve spouting about how Wen-derful he is, I should tell you that Wen Jiabao does have his limits of niceness too. One dude that Wen cannot stand is the Dalai Lama! Wen has been on the active front of Lama-bashing for years, and truly sees him as a separatist threat to China proper, and works hard to isolate and not negotiate with the Lama or any of the more vocal free-Tibetan campaigners. Why would I point this out? Because Wen also uses his considerable influence and diplomacy to make sure that other world leaders don’t meet with the Lama either…including most recently US President Barack Obama’s decision to not meet with the Lama in October of 2009. Wen got game!

So Wen Jiabao is a Chinese cat you definitely need to keep tabs on if you truly want to understand how the world works. His boundless energy is transforming China domestically, and his international diplomatic deeds are reshaping the global order too. Know who is Hu, and when to say Wen!

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