70 Facts About Wen Jiabao


Wen Jiabao was born on 15 September 1942 and is a Chinese retired politician who served as the premier of China from 2003 to 2013.


Wen Jiabao worked as the chief of the General Office of the Chinese Communist Party between 1986 and 1993, and accompanied Party general secretary Zhao Ziyang as Zhao's personal secretary to Tiananmen Square during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre, where Zhao called on protesting students to leave the square and after which Zhao was removed from his position within the Party.


In 1998, Wen Jiabao was promoted to the post of Vice Premier under Premier Zhu Rongji, his mentor, and oversaw the broad portfolios of agriculture and finance.


Wen Jiabao was dubbed "the people's premier" by both domestic and foreign media.


Wen Jiabao's government reduced agricultural taxes and pursued ambitious infrastructure projects.


Wen Jiabao left office in 2013 and was succeeded by Li Keqiang.


Wen Jiabao attended the Beijing Institute of Geology for undergraduate education with a major in geological surveying and prospecting from 1960 to 1965.


Wen Jiabao joined the Chinese Communist Party when he was a college student in April 1965.


Wen Jiabao succeeded in office, rising as chief of the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and later as Vice-minister of Geology and Mineral Resources.


Wen Jiabao was "discovered" by then-CCP general secretary Hu Yaobang, and joined the ranks of the Central Committee and Politburo.


Wen Jiabao has built a network of patronage during his career.


Outgoing Premier Zhu Rongji showed his esteem for Wen Jiabao by entrusting him from 1998 with the task of overseeing agricultural, financial and environmental policies in the office of Vice-Premier, considered crucial as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization.


Wen Jiabao served as Secretary of the Central Financial Work Commission from 1998 to 2002.


Unlike Zhao, who was purged from the party days later for "grave insubordination" and lived under house arrest in Beijing until his death in January 2005, Wen Jiabao survived the political aftermath of the demonstrations.


Wen Jiabao is the only Chief of the Party's General Affairs Office to have served under three General Secretaries: Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang, and Jiang Zemin.


Wen Jiabao entered the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, China's highest ruling council, in November 2002, ranked third out of nine members.


In March 2003, the usually self-effacing Wen Jiabao was quoted as saying, "The former Swiss ambassador to China once said that my brain is like a computer", he said.


Notably, Wen Jiabao was widely known to have clashed with then-Shanghai party chief Chen Liangyu over the central government's policies.


Wen Jiabao was involved in two major episodes involving public health.


Since May 2004, Wen Jiabao made various visits to communities devastated by AIDS, trips shown prominently on national media.


Wen Jiabao was known to conduct visits to relatively poor areas of China's countryside randomly to avoid elaborate preparations to appease officials and hide the real situation, which is done often in China.


At committee meetings of the State Council, Wen Jiabao made it clear that the rural wealth disparity problem must be addressed.


The Hu-Wen Jiabao administration abolished the thousand year old agricultural tax entirely in 2005, a bold move that significantly changed the rural economic model.


Wen Jiabao's attitude is seemingly sincere and warm, triggering comparisons with former premier Zhou Enlai.


Wen Jiabao spent Chinese New Year in 2005 with a group of coal miners in a Shanxi coal mine.


In December 2003, Wen Jiabao visited the United States for the first time.


Wen Jiabao has been on visits to Canada and Australia, mostly on economic issues.


Wen Jiabao visited Japan in April 2007 in what was termed the "de-thawing journey", where he characterized the relationship between the Asian powers as for "mutual benefit".


On 5 March 2007, Wen Jiabao announced plans to increase the military budget.


Some sources suggested that Wen Jiabao would ask to retire due to fatigue.


Ultimately, Wen Jiabao stayed on the Premier job, and was responsible for the drafting of the important speech delivered by Party general secretary Hu Jintao outlining China's direction in the next five years.


In January 2008, while during the midst of severe snowstorms, Premier Wen Jiabao made his way south and visited train stations in Changsha and Guangzhou, addressing the public while calming their mood for long train delays.


Wen Jiabao was appointed to a second five-year term as premier on 16 March 2008, leading efforts to cool soaring inflation and showcase the country to the world at the 2008 Summer Olympics.


Wen Jiabao received fewer votes in favor than he did in 2003, a sign that the premiership can create enemies, even in the mere formalities of China's electoral system.


Wen Jiabao faced grave economic challenges as the world became increasingly affected by the US economic crisis.


On 18 March 2008, during the press conference after the 2008 National People's Congress, Wen Jiabao toed the government line in blaming supporters of the Dalai Lama for violence in Tibet, and said Chinese security forces exercised restraint in confronting rioting and unrest in the streets of Lhasa.


Premier Wen Jiabao's popularity was boosted significantly when he went to the disaster area of the Sichuan a mere few hours after the disaster occurred.


Wen Jiabao declared on national television that survivors are to be rescued as long as there is "a glimmer of hope".


Wen Jiabao was named the General Commander of the Earthquake Relief Efforts Committee immediately following the disaster.


Wen Jiabao received a wide range of questions from large numbers of online Chinese netizens and chose to answer selected questions about prominent economic issues, such as global financial breakdown.


Wen Jiabao expressed concern about the security of Beijing's holdings in US treasury debt.


Wen Jiabao played a prominent role advancing China's foreign policy positions, and became increasingly visible on the world stage as China's economic power expanded.


Wen Jiabao went on an official working visit to North Korea on 4 October 2009, the first time a Chinese Premier has visited North Korea since Li Peng's visit in 1991.


Wen Jiabao was greeted at the Pyongyang Airport by ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il.


Wen Jiabao met with European Union leaders at a China-EU conference in late November 2009, where he refused calls for China to revalue its Yuan and re-examine its foreign exchange regime.


Wen Jiabao traveled to the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference, where he met with US President Barack Obama twice to secure an 11th-hour non-binding agreement on emissions cuts.


On most social issues Wen Jiabao seems to be moderate, with his brand of policies based around societal harmony as prescribed by the Scientific Development Concept, the leading ideology of the administration.


Wen Jiabao remarked that "the socialist system will continue in China for the next 100 years", although later, in a press conference at the 2007 National People's Congress, he stated that "democracy is one of the basic goals of the socialist system".


Furthermore, in an interview in September 2008, Wen Jiabao acknowledged that the democratic system in China needs to be improved, where the power "truly belongs to the people" through the construction of an independent judicial system and for the government to accept criticism from the people.


Wen Jiabao, seen as a former ally of Premier Zhao Ziyang, was likely supportive of the latter's political rehabilitation; however, he rarely mentioned Zhao publicly during his premiership.


Wen Jiabao is perceived by some observers as a liberal voice in China's ruling elite.


Wen Jiabao has openly talked about democracy and increased freedoms in his speeches and interviews with foreign correspondents, although much of it was deemed "sensitive" commentary and censored in state media.


Wen Jiabao remarked that "someone who speaks is not a criminal, someone who listens is duly warned" at an internal party conference in 2009, an event reported on Xinhua and other state networks.


Wen Jiabao's remarks triggered debate from netizens, as it seemed to contravene the practices of the Communist Party, particularly in its suppression of dissent.


Analysts noted that Wen Jiabao's message was aimed at party members, and not necessarily the general public because Wen Jiabao believes freedom of speech has deteriorated since Hu Jintao's accession to power and has negatively affected China's political landscape and international reputation.


Wen Jiabao has progressively amplified his liberal rhetoric as his Premiership continued, remarking in August 2010 that "Without political reform, China may lose what it has already achieved through economic restructuring".


Wen Jiabao has been described as a populist by most observers.


Wen Jiabao engages regularly with locals on his trips to various provinces domestically as well as foreign visits; he played baseball and badminton with Japanese and South Korean citizens during visits to those countries.


Dissidents such as Yu allege that Wen Jiabao's parade of appearances on Chinese media is a carefully managed public relations campaign designed to distract people from real issues.


When he was the head of the Chinese government, Wen Jiabao was considered to be one of the most powerful statesmen in the world.


In 2009, Wen Jiabao was named one of ten people and the only non-American in a list compiled by ABC of people who shaped the US economy the most since 2000.


Wen Jiabao topped a list of "10 leaders to watch" in 2010 released 19 January by Eurasia Group, a global political risk research and consulting firm.


In October 2010, Wen Jiabao was a person selected on the Time's cover that the title was "Wen's World".


In 2011, Wen Jiabao was ranked 14th in Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People.


In 2021, Chinese authorities censored a tribute that Wen Jiabao had written for his mother in the small paper Macau Herald.


Wen Jiabao is married to Zhang Peili, whom he met while working as a government geologist in Gansu.


Wen Jiabao personally wrote a letter submitted to the Politburo Standing Committee asking for an investigation to the claim and willing to make his family assets public.


Professor Zhu Lijia, of the Chinese Academy of Governance, suggest that this is Wen Jiabao's last try to push the passing of the "Sunshine law", which would require government officials to release their financial information to the public.


Wen Jiabao has stated that his one regret so far in life was never having learned to drive a manual transmission car.


Wen Jiabao is known for his adept use of Chinese poetry to convey political and diplomatic messages, when responding to journalists, or simply to begin a speech.