Biographical Data on Selected PRC Foreign Affairs Personnel
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs (1976-83)
Joined the CCP in 1936 and is now  a member of the CCP Central Committee.
After 1936, he served successively as secretary of the leading Party members’ group in the Beiping Association of Students, interpreter at the Red Army’s general headquarters in the Northern Shaanxi Soviet Area, personnel functionary in the Organization Department of the CCP Central Committee, secretary of the leading Party members’ group in the All-China Federation of Students, and section chief in the Foreign Affairs Group under the CCP Central Committee. After 1946, he served as secretary of Comrade Ye Jianying, who was CCP representative at the Beiping Executive Headquarters for Military Mediation; head of the press division of the Executive Headquarters. After 1949, he served successively as head of the Foreign Affairs Office under the Tianjin Military Control Commission, the Nanjing Military Control Commission, and the Shanghai Military Control Commission; Chinese representative at the political negotiations for armistice in Korea, and director of the Department of European and African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later, he served successively as China’s ambassador to Ghana, Egypt and Canada and China’s permanent representative at the United Nations. After 1976, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vice-Premier of the State Council and concurrently Foreign Minister, and State Councillor and concurrently Foreign Minister. He was elected Member of the Tenth and Eleventh Central Committees of the CCP.
[Beijing Review, July 11, 1983]
Comrade Huan Xiang (1909-1989), a noted Chinese expert on international issues and an outstanding diplomat and public figure, wrote many works throughout his life. “Huan Xiang’s Collected Works” [Huan Xiang Wen Ji ], published by Shijie Zhishe Publishing House, includes more than 160 typical speeches and essays of his from the 1940s and 1950s, as well as the 1970s and 1980s. These articles, which deal with the political, military, economic and diplomatic fields, incorporate the achievements of his lifetime of academic research. Many of the viewpoints expressed in the articles, which glisten with his wisdom, can still be used as a reference today. The following is the foreword written by Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji to the collection [Shijie Zhishi editors]:
Comrade Huan Xiang is China’s noted expert on international issues and an outstanding diplomat and public figure. He scored great achievements and made contributions in many fields. As a scholar, he left behind a large number of works written during his academic life, which lasted more than half a century. These works record Huan Xiang’s train of thought and academic contributions, as well as the course of events of a particular era. A number of articles can still be used today for reference and enlightenment... At the request of Huan Xiang’s family and the China Research Center for International Issues, the unit where he worked until his death, and as an old friend, I, with sincere friendship and profound respect for him, would like to say something from the bottom of my heart for the collection...
Erudite and informed, Huan Xiang had a mastery of both Chinese and Western affairs and a penetrating and unique understanding of many issues. I gained much enlightenment from talking with him. At the same time, I was also moved by his affection for the state and the people, his courage to speak fearlessly and straightforwardly, his deep concern for the state and people even at the last minute of his life and his confidence in life...
Huan Xiang was transferred from the press to the diplomatic corps after the founding of the PRC and was appointed director of the Europe and Africa Office of the Foreign Ministry. He was appointed charge d’affaires in London in 1954. He became assistant to the foreign minister and director of the research office after his return in 1962. After his rehabilitation in 1976, he was transferred to the European Community and appointed ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg. On the diplomatic front, Huan Xiang manifested his excellent wisdom and the style of a diplomat to a large country, contributing to China’s diplomatic cause. After his return in 1978, he was transferred from diplomatic to academic circles and appointed vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. When the State Council’s Institute of International Studies was set up in 1982 (the name was changed to China Institute of International Studies in 1988), Huan Xiang became chief secretary of the center...
Huan Xiang had a strong sense of justice and the spirit of braving storms. He often quoted an ancient saying to show his outlook on life: “A person who works for a just cause enjoys abundant support; a person who cheats will lose everything.” The life of Huan Xiang shows that he indeed dared to speak the truth and never told lies. To uphold the truth, he never regretted death. His words matched his deeds... At international gatherings of noted political activists and scholars, he used fluent English to speak sternly out of a sense of justice. We can say that he was an out-and-out “Westernized” intellectual cadre. It is commendable that he always preserved the plain style of a peasant. During our contacts, his plain dressing and honest style of speech left a deep impression on me. This style of Huan Xiang is particularly worth recommending today when extravagance, pursuit of money, vanity and pleasure-seeking are prevailing.
Huan Xiang was very optimistic even at the last minute of his life. With no thought to his illness, he kept the destiny of the state always in mind. He left the world with a deep love and ardent expectations for the motherland and the people. We can console Huan Xiang that under the guidance of Comrade Deng Xiaoping’s theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and under the correct leadership of the CCP Central Committee with Comrade Jiang Zemin as the core, our country has again made marked progress...
[Shijie Zhishi, Beijing, in Chinese 9 Oct 94 pp 11-12
(first paragraph in italics as published)]
Head, CCP Central Foreign Affairs Leading Group; Premier, State Council
In 1948, a year prior to the founding of the People’s Republic, he was sent to study in the Moscow Power Institute and became chairman of the Association of Chinese Students in the Soviet Union during his study there. After returning to China in 1955, he worked as chief engineer and director of two large power plants in northeast China and as deputy chief engineer in the Northeast China Electric Power Administration.
After 1966, he was director of the Beijing Electricity Power Administration. Thanks partly to his efforts, Beijing and Tianjin were ensured of a normal supply of electricity despite the turmoil of the “cultural revolution.” In the 1979-83 period, he served as vice-minister and minister of Power Industry and first vice-minister of Water Resources and Electric Power.
Li was elected a member of the Party Central Committee at the Party’s 12th National Congress in 1982 and a member of the Political Bureau and the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee in the Fifth Plenary Session of the Party’s 12th Central Committee in 1985.
In 1983, he became a vice-premier of the State Council and a member of the leading group under the Party Central Committee in charge of finance and economy to supervise such industrial sectors as energy, transportation and raw material supply. He served concurrently as minister of the State Education Commission starting in 1985.
Once asked by a Western journalist whether he was “pro-Soviet,” Li said, “I am Chinese and a member of the Chinese Communist Party. I act only according to the Party’s line and in the interests of my country.”
Li Shuoxun, Li’s father, was one of the members who joined the Party in its primary stage and was one of the participants in the Nanchang Uprising on August 1, 1927, an armed rebellion led by the Communist Party. He was killed in Hainan Island by the Kuomintang when Li Peng was three.
In 1939, the late Premier Zhou Enlai sent 11-year-old Li Peng to Chongqing to study. Li Peng joined the Communist Party in 1945 at the age of 17.
According to people close to him, Li Peng is an avid reader. He speaks good Russian and has taught himself English. His wife is an electrical engineer. They have two sons and a daughter.
[Beijing Review, July 10, 1989]
Secretary General, Central Foreign Affairs Leading Group; former Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs
Joined New Fourth Army, 1942, and CCP, 1943. Served as company political instructor of 1st Division, New Fourth Army; political instructor of Pharmaceutical School, Health Department of Shandong Military Area Command. Went to study diplomacy at People’s University of China, 1950. Served as deputy section chief of USSR and East European Affairs Department, Foreign Ministry, 1951-54; 2nd secretary of Chinese embassy in USSR, 1954-61; division chief and counsellor of USSR and East European Affairs Department, 1961-64, Foreign Ministry; counsellor of Chinese Embassy in USSR, 1970-72; Chinese ambassador to Poland, Norway and Bangladesh, 1972-82; assistant foreign minister and concurrently director of Asian Affairs Department, 1982-84; vice-minister, Foreign Ministry, 1984-89.
[Who’s Who in China: Current Leaders, 1989]
Head, State Council’s Office of Foreign Affairs; former Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs
Studied at Qinghua University. Went to study at North China People’s University, 1948, and joined CCP, 1948. Graduated from Harbin Foreign Languages School, 1950. Later, served consecutively as 3rd and 2nd secretary of Chinese Embassy in Democratic Germany, 1950-67; division chief of USSR and East European Affairs Department, Foreign Ministry, 1972-74; counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Democratic Germany, 1974-77; counsellor and minister-counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Federal Germany, 1977-83; director of Information Department of Foreign Ministry, 1983-84, and assistant foreign minister, 1984-86. Assumed present post, 1986. Elected representative to CCP 13th National Party Congress, 1987.
[Who’s Who in China: Current Leaders, 1989]
Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1988 to present
Qian’s career as a diplomat began in the 1950s. From 1954 to 1974, he dealt with Soviet affairs and spent 10 years in the Soviet Union.
After 1974, he was China’s Ambassador to Guinea. While serving as the director of the information department of the Foreign Ministry from 1977 to 1982, he proposed setting up a spokesman system and became the first spokesman of the Ministry.
When political consultations between China and the Soviet Union started in October 1982, Qian, then a new Vice-Minister, was empowered to negotiate with the Soviet Union as the special envoy of the Chinese government. Eleven rounds of the marathon consultation had been conducted by 1988 and when the two countries resumed their border talks in 1987, Qian again became head of the Chinese delegation to the talks.
In 1980, he accompanied then Premier Zhao Ziyang on his visit to Romania and Yugoslavia. The following year he again accompanied Zhao Ziyang, then acting General-Secretary of the CCP Central Committee and Premier, to visit five East European countries.
Qian also accompanied Chinese leaders on their visits to countries in Western Europe, Asia and Africa.
Qian has also been in charge of UN affairs and this provides him with a broader vision of international issues. He addressed the UN regional conference on disarmament in March 1987 and the UN disarmament and development conference in August 1987 to explain China’s stand towards the disarmament issue.
He also conducted talks with Canadian, US and Australian government officials on the issue of disarmament and led Chinese delegations to meetings of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
In 1985, he accompanied then Premier Zhao Ziyang to the UN on the occasion of its 40th anniversary.
Qian is known as a talented negotiator and spokesman. He speaks English and Russian.
Qian joined the CCP in 1942. He worked at Shanghai’s ‘Ta Kung Pao’ and engaged in underground activities of the Communist Party.
After 1953, he worked at the central committee of the CYL and the Ministry of Higher Education. From 1954 to 1955, he studied in the Soviet Union and later worked as second secretary and counsellor in the Chinese embassy in Moscow.
He has been a member of the 12th and 13th Central Committees of the CCP.
[Xinhua/Eng., Apr. 12, 1988]
[below is the official biography four years later]
Qian Qichen, an experienced and capable diplomat, was elected member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the first plenary session of the 14th CPC Central Committee here today (Oct. 19, 1992)
Qian, 64, is a native of Shanghai. He has followed a diplomatic career for nearly 40 years.
Qian joined the CPC in 1942 when he studied at the secondary school attached to Tatung University in Shanghai and soon became a branch secretary of the party.
After 1945, he served as a leading member in charge of CPC underground activities in secondary schools in Shanghai. After 1949 Qian was a member of party committees of Xuhui, Changning, and Yangpu districts in Shanghai and concurrently secretary of Communist Youth League committees of these districts.
In 1953, Qian became a researcher at the General Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League.
Qian’s diplomatic career started in the 1950s. From 1954 to 1974, he handled affairs relating to the former Soviet Union and spent ten years in that country. In 1954, he studied at the Central Communist Youth League School of the Soviet Union. After leaving the school in 1955, he worked in the Chinese Embassy in the Soviet Union, serving successively as second secretary, deputy director of a section in charge of Chinese students studying in the Soviet Union, and director of its research section.
In 1963, Qian returned home and worked in the Ministry of Higher Education as chief of a section in charge of Chinese students studying abroad and then deputy director of its department of external relations. In 1972, Qian served as councillor in the Chinese embassy in the Soviet Union. Later, he became the Chinese ambassador to Guinea.
Qian has had a close relationship with the press. In his early career, he worked at Shanghai’s “Ta Kung Pao.” While serving as director of the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry from 1977 to 1982, he proposed establishing a spokesman system and became the first spokesman of the Ministry. His good performance in dealing with Chinese and foreign journalists has left a deep impression on press circles. This is a result of his diligence in pursuing studies in various fields, learning domestic and international affairs, and familiarizing himself with party and government policies.
In 1982, Qian was appointed Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and deputy secretary of the Party Committee of the Ministry. When political consultation between China and the Soviet Union began in October of that year, Qian was empowered to negotiate with the Soviet Union as the special envoy of the Chinese government. When negotiations on borders between China and the Soviet Union were resumed in 1987, Qian became head of the Chinese delegation.
Afterwards, Qian was in charge of United Nations affairs. He speaks English and Russian and is known as an experienced negotiator. His diplomatic talent has won appreciation from people of different walks of life.
In 1988, Qian replaced Wu Xueqian as Foreign Minister and secretary of the party committee of the Foreign Ministry. He was a member of both the 12th and 13th Central Committees. He is also a State Councillor.
Qian said he has always kept in mind the four sentences the late Premier Zhou Enlai said to Chinese diplomats: “Take a firm stand, have a good grasp of policies, endeavor to gain professional proficiency, and strictly abide by discipline.” In practical work, Qian said, he follows the principle of “thinking it over whenever making a decision and acting quickly and efficiently when implementing a decision.”
Qian said he likes everything done well and timely and hates a dilatory style of work, bureaucracy and empty talk.
Those familiar with Qian comment that, gentle and cultivated, he talks in a mild tone. Even when he is bothered, he will not quarrel loudly with his opponent. He is a diplomat with both fortitude and flexibility.
In order to keep himself energetic to handle busy affairs, Qian goes to bed and gets up early. Usually, he goes to bed at about 23:00 at night and gets up between 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning. Then, he reads materials needed on the day. He prefers simple food and plain tea and does not smoke nor drink alcohol. He likes vegetables and products made of beans. He does not eat crabs and shrimps.
Some foreign reports say that his only hobby is to take a walk. This is not true. Qian has extensive interests such as photography, calligraphy, philately and swimming. But he is most fond of reading, particularly books on Chinese and foreign history and biographies. In recent years he has been so busy as to give up many of his hobbies, but he has never given up reading.
Qian’s wife, Zhou Hanqiong, is also a diplomat. The couple have a son and a daughter. [Xinhua/Eng., Oct. 19, 1992]
Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1974-76
Qiao Guanhua is one of Beijing’s more important diplomats, having served in the Foreign Ministry since the Communist conquest of the mainland in 1949. A veteran journalist and propagandist, he and his wife Gong Peng have been closely associated with Zhou Enlai since the early forties and both were well known to Western journalists, scholars, and diplomats in China during the war and postwar years. He was born in March 1914 in Yancheng xian, in eastern Jiangsu. Propagandist Hu Qiaomu also comes from Yancheng, and both men have used the same nom-de-plume, Qiao Mu. To distinguish between them the Communists nicknamed Hu as Bei (“north”) Qiaomu and Qiao Guanhua as Nan (“south”) Qiaomu. Fortunately, the confusion between the two men ended after 1949 when both men dropped “Qiao Mu” as pen name. Qiao Guanhua was also known by the pen name Yu Huai during the Sino-Japanese War years. He received his education at Qinghua University in Beijing, graduating in 1933 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. He then traveled briefly in Japan and France before enrolling at the University of Tubingen in Germany, receiving his doctorate in philosophy in 1936. Qiao is one of the very few Chinese Communist leaders to hold a doctorate and also one of the few educated in Germany. As a result of his extensive education, he is among the most accomplished linguists in the PRC. Fluent in English and German, he reportedly also speaks Japanese, Russian, and French, skills that served him well in later years as a diplomat.
Upon the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in mid-1937, Qiao returned to China, where from 1937 to 1938, during a period of relatively good KMT-CCP relations, he engaged in propaganda work for the KMT Propaganda Department in the Nationalists’ Seventh War Zone (the Wuhan area). He probably joined the CCP during this period. From 1938 to 1941 he worked as a propagandist and journalist in Hong Kong where as a writer on international affairs he quickly gained fame for his articles in such journals at Da-zhong sheng-huo (Masses’ life), edited by the well-known leftist journalist Zou Taofen.1 Other prominent leftist or Communist journalists working in Hong Kong at this time include Jin Zhonghua and Hu Yuzhih. When the city fell to the Japanese at the end of 1941 Qiao escaped and took refuge with Communist guerrillas in the Dongjiang (East River) area of Guangdong.
From Guangdong Qiao made his way in 1942 to Chongqing where he became a secretary to the CCP delegation there headed by Zhou Enlai. This was apparently Qiao’s first contact with Zhou, an association that has lasted since that time. Qiao was also the international news editor for the Communists’ Xin-hua ri-bao (New China daily) and he contributed articles to Qun-zhong (The masses), a journal published at irregular intervals.2 In the 1943-45 period he was identified as a member of the Party’s Propaganda Department, working both in Chongqing and Yan'an. Over the winter of 1945-46, Qiao was a secretary to Zhou Enlai when the latter was negotiating in Chongqing with the Nationalists about the cessation of hostilities and the terms under which the Communists would participate in the Nationalist-convened Political Consultative Conference (held January 1946). Qiao spent most of the first half of 1946 in Nanjing and Shanghai working as a CCP propagandist; the Communists were able to operate openly at this time as a result of the January 1946 Cease-Fire Agreement that had been worked out through the cooperation of U.S. Special Envoy George C. Marshall. A number of articles on international relations written by Qiao at this time appear in Wen-cui (Digest), a Shanghai weekly that was closed down by the KMT in March 1947 when virtually all CCP periodicals in Nationalist-held areas were suppressed.3
By the fall of 1946 Qiao went to Hong Kong where he remained for the next three years. Although suffering from tuberculosis at this time, he directed the activities of the Communists’ New China News Agency and served as a member of the CCP’s South China Bureau, then headed by Liao Chengzhi. During this period Qiao continued to write regularly for CCP-supported publications.4 As a consequence of Qiao’s work in Hong Kong during this period he came to be regarded by both Chinese and Westerners in Hong Kong as the leading Communist liaison official there, a status noted by K.M. Panikkar, India’s last ambassador to the Nationalist Government and its first to the PRC.5 Qiao remained in Hong Kong until the late summer of August 1949, by which time much of the mainland was already in Communist hands.
By the time Qiao left Hong Kong for the mainland, he was one of the best-known Chinese Communist leaders among the Western diplomats, journalists, and scholars concerned with China. His knowledge of Westerners, of course, stemmed from his extensive experience in cities with a significant Western diplomatic, press, and scholarly community, namely, Chongqing, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Much the same could also be said about his wife, Gong Peng (see below), who was with him most of this time. During these years most of Qiao’s Western friends and acquaintances knew him by the name of Qiao Mu.
Even before he reached Beijing in September 1949, Qiao had been given several assignments in the “mass” organizations that the Communists were busy establishing in the spring and summer. In May of that year he was elected a member of the First National Committee of the All-China Federation of Democratic Youth. Then 35, Qiao held this position until mid-1953. In July 1949 he was named to the Preparatory Committee headed by Hu Qiaomu of the All-China Journalists’ Association, retaining this post until the organization was established on a permanent basis in 1954. Also in July 1949 he was named as one of the conveners of a large conference of social science “workers,” and in September he gained membership on the Standing Committee of the China New Political Science Research Association’s Preparatory Committee. However it seems that Qiao devoted little of his time to these organizations, for when the central government was established in September-October 1949, he received important administrative posts, which apparently occupied him fully in the ensuing years.
In September 1949 Qiao was present in Beijing for the First Session of the CPPCC, the organization that brought the new government into existence (October 1). He attended as a representative of the South China Liberated Area and while the CPPCC was in session served on an ad hoc committee that prepared the press releases on the results of the meetings. In October he was appointed as one of the deputy directors of the Staff Office of the Central People’s Government Council (CPGC), the highest organ of state in the PRC that operated under the chairmanship of Mao Zedong. Qiao worked in the Staff Office under Director Qi Yanming until the CPGC was abolished in 1954 with the inauguration of the constitutional government. He was identified in October (although not officially appointed until December 1949) as the vice-chairman of the Foreign Ministry’s Foreign Policy Committee. Zhou Enlai headed both the Ministry and its subordinate Policy Committee, but little was heard of the latter’s activities and apparently it went out of existence in the early fifties. Qiao received a closely related appointment in December 1949 when he became director of the International News Bureau under the Press Administration, an organization one level below a ministry in the Government Administration Council (the cabinet). The Press Administration, headed by Hu Qiaomu, was abolished late in the summer of 1952, and it is probable that some of the functions of the International News Bureau were placed under the Foreign Ministry’s Information Department, a department headed by Qiao’s wife, Gong Peng.
During the latter part of 1949 Qiao was also given new assignments in three important “mass” organizations. From October 1949 until a reorganization one year later, he served as a National Committee member of the China Peace Committee. Also from October 1949 he was a member of the First Executive Board of the Sino-Soviet Friendship Association, holding this post until the Association was reorganized in December 1954. Most important was Qiao’s election as a vice-president of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) in December 1949. The CPIFA, officially described as an “organization devoted to the study of international relations,” has been utilized by the PRC as an unofficial arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Headed by non-Communist Zhang Xiruo, the CPIFA’s leadership consists mainly of highly educated men with considerable experience abroad. With the exception of Qiao and his colleague Hu Yuzhi, another vice-president, most of the other Institute leaders are non-Communists. In practice the CPIFA has been used largely to promote ties with nations not having diplomatic relations with the PRC. Thus, in his numerous dealings with foreigners, Qiao has acted as either an Institute official or as a Foreign Ministry official—depending upon the state of diplomatic relations of the nations involved. Within the CPIFA he also served as head of the Translation Committee from 1952 to 1955.
On various occasions in 1950 Qiao served as acting director of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian Affairs Department, and from the same year until the end of 1952 he was editor of People’s China, an English-language publication. In November-December 1950, immediately after the entry of Chinese forces into the Korean War he was in New York as a member of the special PRC delegation sent to the United Nations to present the Chinese case regarding the alleged aggression of the United States in Korea and Taiwan (see under Wu Xiuquan, the delegation leader). As such, he is one of a handful of Chinese Communist officials to have been in the United States since 1949.
Qiao was abroad again in the spring and summer of 1954 as an adviser to Zhou Enlai’s delegation to the famous Geneva Conference, which brought an end to the fighting in Indochina between the French and the Communist forces of Ho Chi-minh. During a recess in the conference in June, Qiao accompanied Zhou on goodwill visits to India and Burma. The delegation proceeded to Beijing for a short stay and then returned to Geneva. When the conference closed in July, Qiao accompanied Zhou en route home on brief visits to East Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union, and the Mongolian People’s Republic. Soon afterwards, in October 1954, he was appointed an assistant minister (one rank below a vice-minister) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Qiao was once more an adviser to Zhou Enlai when the latter led a delegation in April 1955 to the historic Bandung Conference in Indonesia, and again from November 1956 to early January 1957 when Zhou led a group on visits to North Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Burma, and Pakistan. He was a member of still another delegation led by Zhou in April-May 1960 to Burma, India, Nepal, Cambodia, and North Vietnam, a mission whose main purpose was to discuss border disputes with officials of these nations. He spent much of the year 1961-62 in Geneva as a member of Foreign Minister Chen Yi’s delegation to the so-called Geneva Conference on Laos. The group arrived in May, and Qiao remained in Geneva after July under acting delegation leader Zhang Hanfu when Chen Yi returned to Beijing. Over the winter of 1961-62 Zhang and Qiao returned to Beijing, but then both men went back to Geneva in mid-1962 for the conclusion of the conference.
In the ensuing years Qiao continued to accompany top Chinese leaders abroad. There are few officials, in fact, who have participated in as many important delegations as Qiao, the balance of which are summarized as follows: member of the delegation led by Liu Shaoqi and Chen Yi to Indonesia, Burma, and North Vietnam, April-May 1963; member of the delegation led by Liu Shaoqi to North Korea, September 1963; member of the group led by Zhou Enlai and Chen Yi to 10 nations in Africa (United Arab Republic, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia), to Albania, and to Burma, Pakistan, and Ceylon, December 1963-February 1964; member of Chen Yi’s delegation to the Preparatory Meeting for the Second Afro-Asian (“Bandung”) Conference in Indonesia, April 1964; member of Zhou Enlai’s delegation to Moscow for celebrations marking the 47th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, November 1964; member of a delegation led by Zhou Enlai and Chen Yi to Jakarta for celebrations commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Bandung Conference, April 1965.
In the meantime, Qiao received two new assignments, the first of these, largely ceremonial, in October 1963 when he was appointed to Council membership on the newly established China-Japan Friendship Association. Far more important was his promotion to a vice-ministership in the Foreign Ministry in April 1964. Although Qiao is outranked in the Ministry by men of greater political importance (e.g., Liu Xiao), there are few others who have served longer in the Chinese Communist foreign service — both the official ministry established in 1949 and the “unofficial” ministry that existed under Zhou Enlai’s aegis since the Sino-Japanese War. In this regard, Qiao’s career closely parallels those of other key members of Zhou’s entourage, including Zhang Hanfu and Chen Jiakang. He is regarded by those who have known him as an intelligent and capable man who has an affable personality.
Qiao has been married to Gong Peng since the latter part of the Sino-Japanese War, and by 1945 they had a son named Paris. Gong is as well known to Western diplomats, scholars, and journalists as her husband. She was born into a Christian family about 1917 in Shanghai where she was educated in an Episcopalian girls’ school. Under her original name, Gong Weihang, she studied in the Chinese language and literature department at Yanjing University in Beijing, graduating in 1937. Since the war years, Gong’s career has been quite similar to that of her husband; she too worked for Zhou Enlai in Chongqing and was a propagandist-journalist in Shanghai and Hong Kong. She also joined the Foreign Ministry in 1949, serving as head of the Information (Intelligence) Department until 1964 and since then as an assistant minister. She has accompanied her husband abroad on several of the delegations described above, including those to Geneva (1954 and 1961) and to Africa (1963-64). Gong’s sister, Gong Pusheng, is married to Foreign Ministry Vice-minister Zhang Hanfu and has also held important positions in the Chinese foreign service.
1. Chün-tu Hsüeh, The Chinese Communist Movement, 1937-1949 (Stanford, Calif., 1962), p. 54.
3. Ibid., p. 218.
4. Ibid., pp. 7-8,182.
5. K.M. Panikkar, In Two Chinas (London, 1955), p. 64.
[Klein & Clarke, Biographic Dictionary of Chinese Communism, Vol. I, 1971]
Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs
Joined CCP, 1947. Studied at Nankai University. After founding of PRC, 1949, served as office secretary of CYL Tianjin Municipal Committee. Went to study at USSR youth league school, 1951. Returning, 1952, served consecutively as deputy section chief of Youth Affairs Dept of CYL North China Working Committee, 1952-54; office assistant of Organization Department, CCP Central Committee, 1954-58; deputy division chief of Political Department, Foreign Ministry, 1964-66; division chief and deputy director of USSR and East European Affairs Department, Foreign Ministry, 1970-76; counsellor of Chinese Embassy in USSR, 1976-81; minister-counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia, 1982-84; Chinese ambassador to Czechoslovakia, 1984-85; director of USSR and East European Affairs Department, Foreign Ministry, 1985-88. Assumed present post, 1988.
[Who’s Who in China: Current Leaders, 1989]
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs (1983-88)
Joined the CCP in May 1939.
After 1938, served as a group leader of the students’ association in Shanghai, and a member and then secretary of a Party committee in charge of Party work in middle schools.
From 1944, he was successively member, deputy secretary and secretary of the Student Work Committee of the Shanghai underground Party organization, member of Shanghai’s underground municipal committee and secretary-general of the Shanghai municipal committee of the Communist Youth League.
After 1949, he served as a representative of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League (CYL, then CYC) at the World Federation of Democratic Youth, deputy director and then director of the International Liaison Department of the CYL Central Committee, and member and standing committee member of the CYL Central Committee.
After 1958, he served as head of the Fifth Section of the International Liaison Department of the CCP Central Committee. He was subjected to persecution during the “cultural revolution” and was sent to do physical labour in a cadre school.
After 1972, he served as head of the Western Asia and Africa Section, director of the Third Bureau and deputy head of the International Liaison Department of the CCP Central Committee.
Since 1982, has successively served as first vice-minister and minister of foreign affairs as well as secretary of the ministry’s Party committee, member of the CCP Central Committee’s leading group for foreign affairs and state councillor.
Wu Xueqian was a member of the 12th Party Central Committee and a member of the Political Bureau of the 12th Party Central Committee.
[Beijing Review, November 23, 1987]
Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Member, NPC Standing Committee
Joined Xiyang Anti-Japanese Guerrillas, 1937, and CCP, 1937. Later, served as secretary of District Committee of CCP Shexian County Committee, 1940-43; secretary of CCP Linxian County Committee, 1943-46; researcher of Policy Research Office, CCP Shanxi-Hebei-Shandong-Henan Central Bureau and North China Bureau of CCP Central Committee, 1947-50. After 1952, served consecutively as deputy director of Agricultural, Forestry and Water Conservancy Bureau, North China Administrative Committee, 1952-54; chief of Foreign Affairs Division, Hubei, 1954-55; deputy director of West European Affairs Department, Foreign Ministry, 1955-57; counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Poland, 1957-62; director of 2nd Asian Affairs Department, 1962-66, and European and American Affairs Department, 1967-70, Foreign Ministry; Chinese ambassador to Poland, Canada, Mexico, Egypt, France and Djibouti, 1970-82; vice-foreign minister, 1982-86, and advisor, 1986 on, of Foreign Ministry. Elected Standing Committee member of 7th NPC and vice-chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, NPC, 1988. Member of CCP 12th Central Committee.
[Who’s Who in China: Current Leaders, 1989]
Director, Hong Kong Branch, Xinhua News Agency (1990 to present)
Joined CCP, 1946. Graduated from Faculty of Literature, Yanjing University, 1948. After founding of PRC, 1949, served as teacher of Beijing Foreign Languages School, 1949-50; 3rd and 2nd secretary of Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, 1951-55; section chief of West Asian and North African Affairs Department, Foreign Ministry, 1956-62; 2nd and 1st secretary of Chinese Embassy in Tanzania, 1962-67; 1st secretary and counsellor of Chinese Delegation to UN, 1971-80; deputy representative (ambassador) to UN, 1980-81; assistant foreign minister, 1982-84; vice-minister of foreign affairs, 1984-1989.
[Who’s Who in China: Current Leaders, 1989]
The piece on the next page is excerpted from an interview with Zhou Nan, carried in ‘Ching Pao’ [Hong Kong] in Chinese Feb 5, 1993, pp 18-23. The interview was conducted by Lin Wen and Liang Debiao on the morning of 13th January 1993.
Forty Years of Diplomatic Experience
[Q] Could you talk about your experience as a diplomat over the past 40 years?
[A] This could be a big topic. In brief, China’s foreign policy has been consistent throughout the past 40 years or so. That is: Unswervingly implementing a line of diplomacy characterized by independence, autonomy and peace; handling international relations in accordance with the five principles of peaceful coexistence; resolutely safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity; and opposing power politics and hegemonism. This line has always been upheld except for a period during the Cultural Revolution when it was subject to interference. Adherence to this line has ensured a long-term peaceful environment for China’s national construction.
On the other hand, as far as foreign relations are concerned, China has always valued principles and kept promises. As Xiaoping put it, our principle is: “In the first place, we are afraid of nothing, and in the next place, we keep our word.” We withstood the strong pressure the two superpowers exerted on us during the 1950s and 1960s, did we not? In 1958, Chairman Mao categorically rejected Khrushchev’s “offer” that would infringe upon China’s sovereignty over coastal areas, telling him that his plan was out of the question and that “the Chinese are the hardest nation to be assimilated.” He was indeed a man with plenty of guts. China is too large to become another country’s satellite or vassal. It is not going to fill any power vacuum or seek to build its sphere of influence anywhere. At the same time, we will not tolerate any attempt to interfere in our internal affairs. Any attempt by anyone to change China’s social system and values, which we have chosen on our own, will prove to be in vain. On the other hand, new China’s diplomacy integrates a strong sense of principle and a high degree of flexibility, with flexibility based on adherence to principles. In this respect, the late Premier Zhou set a good example for us and also developed a new style of diplomats for new China — to be neither overbearing nor servile, to do everything conscientiously and to treat others sincerely.
In my discussions with my counterparts during negotiations, there may have been disputes between us on one point or another but, finally, they all agreed that what I had said faithfully reflected the central authorities’ policies and principles and that I had never misled them. Those who play petty tricks, plots and conspiracies will certainly come to no good end. I believe that a diplomat had better have an overall picture of the world’s status quo. I also maintain that a diplomat should first stay in developing countries of the Third World for a few years before being transferred to work in a developed country. Thus he will be able to make a comprehensive comparison and analysis of the world’s conditions and the contributing factors to the differences between the South and the North.
Another very important point is this: To handle diplomatic affairs well not only requires a correct line and policy but also the backing of great national strength. “A weak country is incapable of proper diplomacy.” We have a profound understanding of this. At the beginning of the Sino-British talks, we made it clear to our British friends: You should know that China is not Argentina and Hong Kong is not the Falklands, so try not to indulge in wild fantasies. They got the point and had to give up their unreasonable demands in the end.
Personal Life and Family
[Q] Could you please tell us something about your personal life and your family?
[A] The family I come from was not in very poor circumstances, otherwise I could not have been able to attend that kind of university. I joined the revolutionary ranks mainly out of a sense of justice and therefore I do not have excessive demands in material life, as long as it is more or less passable. I believe in “peace at heart without seeking fame or wealth.” My sporting hobbies are also very simple: Swimming in summer and strolling in winter, plus some tai-chi exercises. I am getting on in years, so I have stopped reading many foreign books. I love thread-bound Chinese books, classical music, Beijing opera and Kun opera. The paintings and calligraphic works in my collection are replicas, there are hardly any treasurable gems.
I have a daughter and a son. They worked in the countryside and factories after finishing middle school, before they went to college. Then they went to Boston to attend doctoral courses. My daughter took her doctorate of arts last year and is now a postdoctoral fellow in European studies at Harvard University and adviser to the “World Education” Organization. She plans to return to China this year to resume her work with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. My son is working on his doctoral dissertation while doing a part-time job in a bank. Someone wanted to invite them over to Hong Kong to do business, and they knew they would be well paid. But neither of them wanted to come, because they thought they had better “avoid” it since I am working in Hong Kong. I very much agree with them. We hope they will be able to do something beneficial for their country in the future. That is all we want them to do.
Former Ambassador to United States (1989-93)
Joined CCP, 1947. Graduated from Faculty of Political Science, St John’s University, Shanghai, 1948. After 1956, served consecutively as deputy division chief of General Office, Foreign Ministry, 1956-63; 2nd and 1st secretary of Chinese Embassy in Egypt, 1964-68; division chief and deputy director of West Asian and North African Affairs Department, Foreign Ministry, 1971-73; counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Australia, 1973-77; deputy director, 1977-82, and director, 1982-90, of American and Oceanian Affairs Department, Foreign Ministry; assistant foreign minister and concurrently director of American and Oceanian Affairs Dept, 1982-84; vice-minister, Foreign Ministry, 1984-90; Assumed present post, 1990.
[Who’s Who in China: Current Leaders, 1989]