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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 14:42 GMT
Profile: Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao
The former geologist is said to have good communication skills
Wen Jiabao, who as China's Premier is charged with overseeing the country's economic reforms, has a reputation as a strong administrator and technocrat.

Once seen as self-effacing and even uncharismatic, Mr Wen's fortunes have since risen quickly.

During a political career stretching back to 1965, Mr Wen has built a network of patrons.

He has served three Party leaders - from Hu Yaobang to Zhao Ziyang to Jiang Zemin.

During that time he has earned a reputation for meticulousness and a focus on tangible results.

The former Swiss ambassador to China once said that my brain is like a computer. Indeed, many statistics are stored in my brain.
Wen Jiabao, March 18 2003

Former Premier Zhu Rongji showed his esteem by entrusting Mr Wen, from 1998, with the task of overseeing agriculture, finance and environment policies.

These were considered crucial as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organisation.

This experience should prove important as Beijing pushes to revitalise the rural economy.

Mr Wen began his career in the Gansu geology bureau, having studied geomechanics in Beijing.

The Party was at that time conducting a talent search, and Mr Wen was duly promoted to serve as deputy in the Party's Central Office, where he remained for eight years.

Political 'survivor'

Things have not always been easy for Wen Jiabao, however, but he has always managed to bounce back.

Perhaps his most significant recovery was after 1989, when Mr Wen accompanied then-Party Secretary Zhao Ziyang to Tiananmen Square to visit the students on hunger strike.

Mr Zhao was purged from the party days later and has lived under house arrest in Beijing ever since.

Mr Wen, on the other hand, weathered the storm.

Although he can appear a quiet and unassuming man, he is said to be a good communicator and a "man of the people".

At the end of the NPC in March 2003, he was keen to emphasise that he was a man of conviction.

"It is generally believed that I am mild-tempered," he said.

"But at the same time, I have deep convictions and my own judgement of things, and I am not afraid of shouldering responsibility."

Mr Wen also promised that he was well-equipped to preside over China's vast bureaucracy.

"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."

His more subtle style may prove less attractive to the international community than the straight talking of outgoing Premier Zhu Rongji, but his consensual management skills should prevent him from making too many enemies in Beijing.


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