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Zeng Qinghong

Zeng Qinghong
First Secretary of Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China
In office
15 November 2002 – 22 October 2007
General Secretary Hu Jintao
Preceded by Hu Jintao
Succeeded by Xi Jinping
7th Vice President of the People's Republic of China
In office
15 March 2003 – 15 March 2008
President Hu Jintao
Preceded by Hu Jintao
Succeeded by Xi Jinping
President of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China
In office
December 2002 – December 2007
Deputy Yu Yunyao
Su Rong
Preceded by Hu Jintao
Succeeded by Xi Jinping
Head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China
In office
March 1999 – November 2002
general secretary Jiang Zemin
Preceded by Zhang Quanjing
Succeeded by He Guoqiang
Head of the General Office of the Communist Party of China
In office
March 1993 – March 1999
general secretary Jiang Zemin
Preceded by Wen Jiabao
Succeeded by Wang Gang
Personal details
Born July 1939 (age 76)
Ji'an, Jiangxi, China
Political party Communist Party of China
Spouse(s) Wang Fengqing
Children Zeng Wei
Alma mater Beijing Institute of Technology
Zeng Qinghong
Traditional Chinese 曾慶紅
Simplified Chinese 曾庆红

Zeng Qinghong (born 30 July 1939) is a retired Chinese politician. He was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, China's highest leadership council, and top-ranked member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee between 2002 and 2007. He also served as the Vice-President of the People's Republic of China from 2003 to 2008.

During the 1990s, Zeng was a close ally of then-Party general secretary Jiang Zemin, and was instrumental in consolidating Jiang's power. For years, Zeng was the primary force behind the party's organization and personnel.


  • Early life 1
  • Climbing the ranks 2
  • Politburo Standing Committee 3
    • Shifting loyalties 3.1
    • Departure 3.2
    • Son's wealth 3.3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Zeng was born to a family of Hakka background in Ji'an, Jiangxi province, in July 1939. He was the son of Zeng Shan, a communist revolutionary and later Minister of the Interior, and Deng Liujin (邓六金), a notable female participant of the Long March. Zeng was the eldest of five children. He graduated from Beijing 101 Middle School and the Automatic Control Department at the Beijing Institute of Technology. Zeng was an engineer, a specialist in automatic control systems. He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in April 1960. Due to the revolutionary heritage of his father, Zeng was seen as a member of the so-called "Crown Prince Party", the descendants of veteran revolutionaries.

Zeng spent the early part of his career as a technician in the military defense industry in Beijing. He was sent down to do manual labor on People's Liberation Army bases in Hunan and Guangdong during the Cultural Revolution. With the opening of the reform era, Zeng joined the State Development and Reform Commission in 1979 and then held a series of management positions in the state petroleum sector, including a series of foreign liaison positions with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

Climbing the ranks

In 1984, Zeng began working for the Shanghai municipal government, where he became a key ally of then-Party Committee Secretary Jiang Zemin. When Jiang was elevated to General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in national leadership re-shuffle following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, he brought Zeng Qinghong along as his adviser.[1]

As the deputy chief of the Shanghai clique" to leading central and regional posts. He also helped propagate Jiang's guiding political philosophy known as the "Three Represents" inside the party.[2]

Over the next decade, he acquired a reputation as Jiang's 'hatchet man' against rivals. In 1992 he supposedly helped Jiang remove President Yang Shangkun and elder PLA General Yang Baibing, who threatened Jiang's support within the military. Then, he used an anti-corruption campaign to orchestrate the downfall of Beijing party chief and Jiang's foe Chen Xitong.[3] Because he was seen to represent highly partisan interests, many of Jiang's factional opponents were said to be highly resistant to Zeng joining the Politburo as a full member for years.[3] However, Jiang made it clear that a 'pre-condition' for his stepping down at the 16th Party Congress was for Zeng to become a member of the elite Politburo Standing Committee.[3]

Politburo Standing Committee

At the 16th Party Congress held in 2002, Zeng became a member of the 16th Central Committee, a member of its Politburo and of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), the Party's central decision making body, as well as serving as the executive secretary of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, responsible for party administrative affairs and policy coordination.

During his term in the PSC, although he was formally ranked fifth, Zeng was seen as a 'power broker' in the party, believed to possess power that was second only to General secretary Hu Jintao.[4] Initially seen as a rival to general secretary Hu Jintao, Zeng was obliged to show a willingness to work towards consensus with the old guard following Jiang's semi-retirement.

On 6 June 2003, Zeng issued an order "not to play or sing 'The Internationale' in any provincial, city or county level party or party member meetings." The move was characterized as distancing China from orthodox communist doctrine.[5]

Although Jiang stepped down from the PSC to make way for a younger "fourth generation" of leadership led by Hu Jintao, Jiang continued to wield significant influence on the new group of leaders, particularly through Zeng. Due in large measure to Zeng's efforts, six out of the nine new members of the Standing Committee, Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Huang Ju, Li Changchun, Luo Gan, and Zeng himself, were linked to Jiang's "Shanghai Clique" and considered his allies.

As Jiang Zemin reached the end of his term, observers speculated that Jiang may well have preferred Zeng Qinghong over Hu Jintao as his successor. But Hu prevailed in succeeding Jiang, ostensibly because Hu was 'handpicked' by former leader Deng Xiaoping. Zeng became Vice-President in March 2003 at the National People's Congress held that year. During the SARS outbreak, Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao took very strong and assertive action while Zeng and other Jiang loyalists receded to the background. Zeng was also initially expected to succeed Hu as Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission as a condition of Jiang's resignation from the chairmanship in favor of Hu. However, when Jiang stepped down on 19 September 2004, Xu Caihou, and not Zeng, became Vice-chairman.[6]

Shifting loyalties

Although initially seen as a Jiang loyalist, observers characterized Zeng as much more sophisticated and shrewd and possessed more political savvy compared to his former boss Jiang. In addition, Zeng was said to differ with Jiang's "Shanghai Clique" on policy preferences. Zeng was an important figure within the highest ranks of party leadership. He was said to be a crucial player in pushing Jiang headed towards full retirement in 2004, when Jiang relinquished his final title, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. Observers saw the push for Jiang's retirement as an indication of consensus between Zeng and Hu.[7]

In the following years, Zeng emerged as a Party Committee Secretary Chen Liangyu was dismissed in September 2006, Zeng led the anti-corruption task force against his longtime political enemy since they were in Shanghai.[4] Additionally, Zeng also played a leading role in coordinating the funeral service for Politburo Standing Committee member Huang Ju, who died of cancer in 2007.


At the 2008 National People's Congress. Before his retirement, however, Zeng used his political strength to secure the elevation of Xi Jinping and Zhou Yongkang into the Politburo Standing Committee.[8] Xi, who succeeded Zeng in his posts of Vice-President and executive secretary of the Secretariat, then became the heir apparent to succeed Hu Jintao as China's top leader. Zhou, who was his closest subordinate in his 'Oil Clique', became the most powerful Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission.[9] Since then Zeng has made public appearances only on a few ceremonial occasions, such as the 30th anniversary of the Third plenum of the 11th Central Committee in 2008.[10]

Son's wealth

In 2008, Zeng's son, Zeng Wei (曾伟), paid over A$32 million (~$24 million USD) to buy a luxurious Australian property located in Sydney; at the time, it was said to be the third most expensive residential property transaction in Australia.[11] He further caused controversy with his fight to demolish and rebuild it.[12] In 2007, an exposé published by finance magazine Caijing alleged that Zeng Wei had, through a series of complex corporate vehicles, completed the purchase of power generation giant Shandong Luneng at 70 billion yuan (~$10 billion) below market value, and that Zeng Wei was, for all intents and purposes, the real owner of company despite his name not appearing in corporate documents.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b "China's vice-president loses post". BBC News. 21 October 2007. 
  2. ^ Wen, Yu. "ZENG QINGHONG: A POTENTIAL CHALLENGER TO CHINA'S HEIR APPARENT". China Brieft. The Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Lam, Willy. "ZENG QINGHONG: A MAN TO WATCH". China Brief. The Jamestown Foundation. 
  4. ^ a b Kahn, Joseph (4 October 2006). "In Graft Inquiry, Chinese See a Shake-Up Coming". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  5. ^ 曾庆红下令不让唱「国际歌」的原因(多图)
  6. ^ Bo, Zhiyue: China's elite politics: political transition and power balancing. ISBN 981-270-041-2
  7. ^ a b Kahn, Joseph (25 September 2005). "China's Leader, Ex-Rival at Side, Solidifies Power". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Chinese puzzle: who is Hu's heir?. The Age, 20 September 2009
  9. ^ 多維月刊﹕曾慶紅顛覆團派布局迎來太子黨新時代
  10. ^ "李鹏、李瑞环、曾庆红出席大会". 18 December 2008. 
  11. ^ Chancellor, Jonathan; Dobbin, Marika (24 April 2010). "Red hot market". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  12. ^ Garnaut, John (12 October 2010). "Mystery developer is son of former Chinese vice-president, says lawyer". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  13. ^ Wang, Ya (February 21, 2015). "从曾伟到周滨 权贵二代的“掮客”演变". Duowei News. 

External links

  • Zeng Qinghong and his CCP organization – World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong
  • Zeng Qinghong biography @ China Vitae, online database of China VIPs
  • Zeng Qinghong – People's Daily biography
  • Zeng Qinghong: A Man to Watch – Jamestown Foundation
  • Zeng Qinghong: A Potential Challenger to China's Heir Apparent – Jamestown Foundation
  • Zeng Qinghong: An Heir To Power – MSNBC
Party political offices
Preceded by
Wen Jiabao
Head of the General Office of the Communist Party of China
Succeeded by
Wang Gang
Preceded by
Zhang Quanjing
Head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China
Succeeded by
He Guoqiang
Preceded by
Hu Jintao
First Secretary of Secretariat of the Communist Party of China Central Committee
Succeeded by
Xi Jinping
Political offices
Preceded by
Hu Jintao
Vice President of the People's Republic of China
Succeeded by
Xi Jinping
Academic offices
Preceded by
Hu Jintao
President of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China
Succeeded by
Xi Jinping
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Jia Qinglin
Conference chairman
5th Rank of the Communist Party of China
16th Politburo Standing Committee
Succeeded by
Huang Ju
Vice Premier
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