Wen Jiabao (Simplified Chinese: 温家宝; Traditional Chinese: 溫家寶; pinyin: Wēn Jiābǎo) (born September 1942) is the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. He serves as a member of its Leading Party Members' Group and Secretary of the Financial Work Committee of the CPC Central Committee. Since taking office in 2003, Wen, ranked third in the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China hierarchy, has been a key part of the fourth generation of leadership in the Communist Party of China.
A postgraduate and engineer, Wen graduated from the specialty of geological structure of Beijing Institute of Geology. Having studied geomechanics in Beijing, he began his career in the Gansu geology bureau; from 1968-1978, he presided over the Geomechanics Survey Team under the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and head of its political section. Rising as chief of the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and later as minister for the natural resources sector of the economy, Wen would rise through the ranks of the Politburo Central Committee in the 1980s and 1990s. Wen's move from Gansu to Beijing occurred while the party, then under the leadership of General Secretary Hu Yaobang, was conducting a talent search; Wen was quickly promoted to serve as the deputy in the Party's Central Office. He remained in the post for eight years.
Wen Jiabao is the only Standing Committee member to have served under three party secretaries: Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang, and Jiang Zemin. A political survivor, his most significant recovery was after 1989, when Wen was the head assistant to General Secretary Zhao Ziyang. He accompanied then-Party Secretary Zhao Ziyang to Tiananmen Square. Zhao was purged from the party days later for "grave subordination" and has lived under house arrest in Beijing ever since. Unlike his mentor, Wen was able to politically survive the aftermath of the demonstrations. During a political career dating back to 1965, Wen has built a network of patrons. During that time Wen, a strong administrator and technocrat, has earned a reputation for meticulousness, competence, and a focus on tangible results. Outgoing Premier Zhu Rongji showed his esteem for Wen by entrusting him, from 1998, with the task of overseeing agriculture, finance and environment policies, considered crucial as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organization.
As premier, Wen has overseen China's economic reforms and has been involved in moving national goals from economic growth at all costs to one which also emphasizes more egalatarian distribution of wealth along with other social goals such as public health and education. Wen's broad range of experience and expertise, especially cultivated while presiding over agricultural policies under Zhu Rongji has been important as the "fourth generation" seeks to revitalize the rural economy in regions left out by the past two decades of reform.
Like President Hu Jintao, whose purported brilliance and photographic memory have facilitated his meteoric rise to power, Wen is regarded as well-equipped to preside over a vast bureaucracy in the world's most populated and perhaps rapidly changing nation. In March 2003, the usually self-effacing Wen was quoted as saying, "The former Swiss ambassador to China once said that my brain is like a computer," he said. "Indeed, many statistics are stored in my brain."
Mild-tempered and conciliatory, especially compared to his predecessor, the tough, straight talking Zhu Rongji, his consensual management have enabled him to generated a great deal of good will and little hostility in Beijing.
Wen has been involved in a two major episodes involving public health. In early 2003, he was involved in ending official inaction over SARS. In November 2003, he became the first major Chinese official to publicly address the problem of AIDS, which has devastated parts of the provinces of Yunnan and Henan and threatens to be a major burden on Chinese development. By doing so, Wen appearred to be attempting to reverse years of actions which many activists have seen as a policies of denial and inaction.
In December 2003, Wen visited the United States of America for the first time. During the trip, Wen was able to get President George W. Bush to issue what many saw as a mild rebuke to President of the Republic of China Chen Shui-bian.