Who's Who in China's Economic Policy: TIE's Biennial Survey of the Backroom Power Structure

The International Economy, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

Who's Who in China's Economic Policy: TIE's Biennial Survey of the Backroom Power Structure


On Top in Beijing

President Hu Jintao, powerful but not quite in charge

Former President Jiang Zemin, clings to share of power through the Central Military Commission.

Beijing's College of Cardinals

Premier Wen Jiabao, assigned special responsibility for Agricultural Reforms and Financial Reforms.

Senior Vice Premier Huang Ju, the top man for financial policy.

Vice Premier Wu Yi, the senior point person on WTO and trade issues.

Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan, senior point person on industry and state enterprises, also the final arbiter on the State Plan.

Vice Minister Hui Liangyu, the agricultural decision maker.

Finance Minister Jin Renqing has day-to-day control over financial macro-controls, statistics, and banking, but Zhou

Xiaochuan, Governor of the People's Bank of China, handles most critical bank regulatory issues.

Ma Kai, Chairman of the State Development Reform Commission, and the ideological arbiter of all economic policies to ensure they can be defended in terms of a "socialist market economy."

Zhou Xiaochuan, central bank governor, handles critical bank regulatory issues.

People's Liberation Army: Still Aggressive Capitalists

All branches are big players in the economy, although not as big as previously, because they once directly ran many manufacturing and agricultural projects to help finance the military. Officially the military has divested, under duress and direct orders of the Central Committee. Now a lot of "retired" generals and their children run the companies--crony capitalism at its most refined--often in joint ventures with local Communist Party officials.

China's Wise Men

Various national and sub-national agencies do their own data collection and analysis, with research organizations linked to them that do contract research. University institutes and scholars "also do contract research. China is evolving so that individual scholars are now as important as institutions. Jiang and Hu now regularly hold private briefings with just one or two scholars, for example. In foreign affairs, the most important research organizations are:

The Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations, Lu Zhongwei, president (said to be linked to the Ministry of State Security).

The Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, has institutes that run the gamut of domestic and external issues. How much influence any one of them has on decision-making is open to question, but in general the Academy enjoys significant power.

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