|First Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China|
15 March 2003 – 2 June 2007
|Preceded by||Li Lanqing|
|Succeeded by||Wu Yi (Acting)|
|Member of the 16th CPC Politburo Standing Committee|
15 November 2002 – 2 June 2007
|General Secretary||Hu Jintao|
|Mayor of Shanghai|
April 1991 – February 1994
|Preceded by||Zhu Rongji|
|Succeeded by||Xu Kuangdi|
28 September 1938|
Jiashan, Republic of China
|Died||2 June 2007
|Political party||Communist Party|
|Alma mater||Tsinghua University|
Huang Ju (28 September 1938 – 2 June 2007) was the First-ranking Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China. He joined the Communist Party of China in March 1966.1 He was ranked 6th out of 9, and was one of the least popular and most partisan members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Party.2 Huang, considered "one of China's most mysterious politicians",3 was a powerful member of the Shanghai clique.
Having been both the Mayor of Shanghai and the city's party chief in the 1990s, Huang enjoyed very close relations with his patron Jiang Zemin, he was known to be strongly opposed to General Secretary and President Hu Jintao. During his tenure in Shanghai Huang and his family members were involved in various corruption cases. He died in office on 2 June 2007.
Huang was employed as a Technician in the foundry section of the Shanghai Artificial-board Machinery Factory (上海人造板机器厂) from 1963 to 1967. From 1967 to 1977, Huang worked as Technician in the power section of the Shanghai Zhonghua Metallurgical Factory (上海中华冶金厂), where he was also Assistant Deputy Secretary Workshop Party Branch. He became Assistant Director of the Revolutionary Committee, Deputy Plant Manager, Engineer from 1977 to 1980. He was Assistant Manager of the Shanghai Petrochemical General Machinery Company (上海市石化通用机械制造公司) from 1980 to 1982. From 1982 to 1983 he was Deputy Commissioner of the Shanghai First Mechanical and Electrical Industry Bureau (上海市第一机电工业局).4
From 1983 to 1984, Huang Ju served as a member of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee and City Industry Work Party Secretary; he was the Shanghai Committee's Secretary General from 1984 to 1985 and deputy Party chief from 1985 to 1986.
In 1987, Huang became one of the chosen candidates for the Mayor of Shanghai, and therefore a CCP Central Committee member, but received too few votes supporting his candidacy in Shanghai's Municipal Congress. Zhu Rongji was subsequently elected Mayor instead. When Zhu became Premier after his transfer to the Central Government in Beijing, Huang became mayor of Shanghai in 1991 and then the city's Party chief in 1994, serving until October 2002. Although he led the eastern commercial hub of Shanghai in an era of prosperity and development, he was reputed to have achieved little.citation needed
Huang served in a role to keep the city's party organization in line,5 and is remembered by some as having raised the incomes of Shanghai people.6 Among recent ex-mayors of Shanghai, Huang was also the least popular, due to his suppression of popular mayor Xu Kuangdi. Huang's reputation in the city was lower than that of Zhu Rongji or even politically disgraced Chen Liangyu.7
Due to his low popularity inside the party and in the public eye, Huang's move to Beijing after Jiang Zemin's retirement in 2002 created controversy.8 In May 1994, after Huang's installation as the Shanghai party chief, his wife Yu Huiwen, along with Shanghai official Chen Tiedi began a charity organization allegedly for money laundering for Huang's wife and close colleagues, who received "donations" from the business elite. Although some of this money did indeed go to charity, there was a large amount of funds unaccounted for.9 It was unclear what Huang's involvement was in this process, but it was clear that his power in Shanghai gave license to his family.
Huang was also believed to be implicated in the Shanghai real estate scandals involving Zhou Zhengyi, one of Shanghai's business elite. Huang did little to curb monopolies in Shanghai's booming real estate sector. Public protests resulted from residents being evicted from their homes (with little or no compensation) to make way for new construction. Zhou was eventually charged with multiple counts of fraud, but only sentenced to three years in prison, which analysts speculated was due to Huang exerting his influence on the municipal courts. In addition, Huang's wife, Yu Huiwen, controlled the Shanghai pension fund, and was linked to Zhang Rongkun, who was at the centre of allegations of misappropriation of the fund's money.5 Huang's brother, who was made a high-ranking executive of a Pudong development firm, also moved funds for personal use.10
Huang was one of the patronage appointments from Jiang's Shanghai clique to China's top decision-making body,11 becoming one of the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee. He received the lowest number of votes among the Politburo members elected in 2002,12 receiving 1,455 votes in favour, out of 2,074 votes cast,8 and 300 votes against, unusually low in Chinese national politics, where elections are normally confirmation of selections made by consensus.
His position as First Vice-Premier was considered a figurehead role with little power, especially when compared to previous First Vice-Premiers Yao Yilin and Li Lanqing. His official portfolios were to oversee finance and banking.
Although the national media stressed his return, Huang was believed to be next in the firing line in the corruption probe after the dismissal of his close colleague Chen Liangyu in September 2006.3 Huang's involvement with the Shanghai Pension Fund Scandals is unclear, as the Chinese government has kept much of the investigation under wraps.
In February 2006, the South China Morning Post reported that Huang was seriously ill, and was expected to step down. Although some government officials said he had pancreatic cancer, the party never disclosed the nature of his condition.1314 On 17 March, sources reported he was near death.15 Huang attended a Science and Technology forum in Beijing on 5 June, which some suggest was to show he was alive and well.16
After giving a keynote speech at the State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) executives' conference on 5 January 2007, he was notably absent at the Central Conference on Financial Affairs later on that month.17 Although his condolences were accounted for, rank-appropriate, during Communist elder Bo Yibo's funeral, his absence prompted speculation that Huang's critical condition was preventing him from carrying out his official duties.18 Hong Kong media speculated that Huang was undergoing medical treatment in Shanghai. Huang appeared, looking frail,3 during the National People's Congress in March 2007. The government denied Huang's request to resign effective March 2007, but thereafter his position became purely ceremonial, handing over his role of oversight of the Financial Affairs portfolio to premier Wen Jiabao in January.17 Huang disappeared from public view in March 2007.19 Huang left Shanghai in April and was admitted to the 301 Military Hospital in Beijing, after which his health situation deteriorated.18
Citing sources inside the 301 Military Hospital in Beijing, The Times reported that Huang died on the morning of 9 May 2007. 20 Phoenix Television was the only Chinese station to broadcast the news, did so on its on-screen ticker18 from about 19h00. However, at 19h30, the State Council denied the reports. Phoenix reported the news ostensibly in an audacious attempt to test the limits of government restrictions on news, but after the State Council denial, the TV station retracted the news and issued an apology.21 The government responded by closing off the south-west wing of the 301 Military Hospital; and directed that all news related to Huang on television and on the internet follow official releases from Xinhua.22 False rumours of Huang's death were repeated twice thereafter, used online as an opportunity to vent anger at social and political problems.23 The timing of the death is particularly sensitive due to its close proximity to the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Despite his being incapacitated, Huang was elected as one of Shanghai's local party representatives to the Party's 17th Party Congress on 29 May.24
On 2 June 2007, Huang Ju died in Beijing. In unprecedented fashion, the English and Chinese versions of his obituary were relayed simultaneously to the country and the world only a few hours after his death, at around 6:30 am Beijing time.23 Official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Huang had died at 2:03 am, of an unnamed illness, at age 69.25 His death was the top story on the national news program Xinwen Lianbo, where news anchors in black suits read off a dry and sober 155 word news item.23 The screen simply displayed "Comrade Huang Ju has passed away."
In his concise official obituary, he was hailed as a "long-tested and faithful Communist fighter and an outstanding leader of the party and the state."26 This posthumous designation was used for most of Communist China's high-ranking leaders. The official state media called Huang an "important member of the Central Committee Leadership under General Secretary Hu Jintao who dedicated his heart to the development of the Party and the State, and offered all of his intellectual strength and power for the cause." Former Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin, in official footage, was in tears as he shook the hands of Huang's widow Yu Huiwen.27
Websites reporting Huang Ju's death forbade discussions, and internet forums censored all negative comments and speculation about Huang Ju's political life.23 In Shanghai, where Huang was one of the city's former Mayors, reception of his death was cold.28 Among the mayors of Shanghai, Huang received the lowest ratings, while his contemporaries, Zhu Rongji and Xu Kuangdi, were more popular. There were no public displays of mourning in Shanghai.23
Huang was the first PSC member to die in office since Chairman Mao himself in September 1976, some thirty years earlier, and the highest-ranking communist leader to die in office since economic reforms began in 1978. He was the only First Vice-Premier ever to die in office.24
Huang's funeral was notable as the highest-ranking affair for any Communist leader since Deng Xiaoping's state funeral in 1997. It was the top story on CCTV's National News at 7 pm on 5 June 2007, and occupied well over ten minutes of broadcast time in the half-hour program. Despite its priority and importance, however, Huang's funeral was noticeably simpler than that of previous leaders. The official "funeral" (追悼会) designation for deceased leaders was not used; rather, it was termed a "Send-off ceremony" (告别仪式). Analysts suggested that this might become the new trend for Chinese leaders.29 In a break with normal protocol, the funeral coverage began with Zeng Qinghong standing at the hospital awaiting Huang Ju's funeral procession, and not with Hu Jintao. All high-ranking Chinese leaders, including former Premier Zhu Rongji, attended the ceremony.
Huang's death opened a vacancy which offered the possibility of the consolidation of Hu Jintao's power during the 17th Party Congress.20 However, most observers believed Huang's death would have little effect on Chinese politics, because Huang was absent from public life for over a year prior to his death. Huang's departure was nevertheless seen as a major blow to the Shanghai Clique, a group of senior politicians loyal to former President Jiang Zemin, who had been involved in a constant power struggle with President Hu.17 Huang, along with disgraced Shanghai Party Chief Chen Liangyu, who underwent investigation for charges of fraud and corruption, were both staunch opponents of Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao. Some commentators suggested that Huang's death conveniently absolved him of any responsibility in the Shanghai pension scandal and saved him and his family from political disgrace, thus avoiding any open splits in the Party's top leadership. Huang's First Vice-Premier position as well as his seat on the Politburo Standing Committee was left vacant until the 17th Party Congress.
Huang was married to Yu Huiwen (余慧文), who was an executive on a Shanghai Pensions board, and speculated to be involved in corruption cases in the city. In February 1995, his daughter, Huang Fan (黄凡), married James Fang Yiwei (方以伟), the son of Fang Dachuan (方大川), a pro-Taiwan newspaperman in San Francisco, for which Huang was criticized by political rivals.
- "Huang Ju 黄菊". ChinaVitae. Retrieved 27 September 2006.
- Ling, Li. "Jiang's army defeated all-round in opinion poll". Renmin Bao. 17 Dec 2003. (Chinese)
- "Balance of power to shift with Huang's fate", Page A4, South China Morning Post, 10 May 2007
- "Comrade Wong Ju's biography". People's Daily. Retrieved 27 September 2006.
- "Steering Shanghai's rapid rise was pinnacle for 'faithful fighter'". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). 3 June 2007. p. A5.
- "Citizens recall 'pragmatic cadre's' contributions". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). 3 June 2007. p. A5.
- Central News Agency, "黃菊過世 上海人反應冷漠 (Shanghainese react coldly to Huang Ju's death)", China Times, 22 May 2007 (Chinese)
- China: A Rumored Death and Guangdong Under Pressure, Stratfor, 10 May 2007
- Duowei: Huang's wife started a "officials' wives' club"
- Secrecy over leader reflects China ruling party paranoia, AFP, Gulf Times, 11 May 2007, Accessed 11 May 2007
- ¸ßðâ, Ôúãàöð¹úõþöîñ§Õß (20 November 2006). "Exposé on 17th National Party Congress – democracy within the Party". BBC News. Retrieved 11 May 2007.
- Edward Cody, Ailing Chinese Vice Premier And Jiang Ally Dies in Beijing, Washington Post Foreign Service, 2 June 2007; Page A10
- China Attributes Vice Premier's Absence to Unidentified Illness, Philip P. Pan
- Huang Ju's pancreatic cancer advanced, enters Hospital 301, Boxun.com, 18 March 2006 (Chinese)
- China vice-premier back in public eye after illness, Reuters, Thanh Nien News, 5 June 2006
- Shanghai clique takes another hit Poon Siu-to, Asia Times, 27 Jan 2007
- "Beijing denies reports ailing leader is dead". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). 10 May 2007. p. 1.
- News reports of Huang Ju, People's Daily, Accessed 15 May 2007
- MacArtney, Jane (9 May 2007). "China denies death of vicepremier". The Times (London).
- "China denies vice-premier has died". The Age (Australia). 9 May 2007.
- "Title", Page , Ming Pao, 10 May 2007 (Chinese)
- "Xinhua breaks with tradition to be the first to report leader's death". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). 3 June 2007. p. A5.
- "Long illness claims top party leader". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). 3 June 2007. p. A1.
- "Urgent: Chinese Vice-Premier Huang Ju dies of illness in Beijing", Xinhua, 2 June 2007
- Yardley, Jim (2 June 2007). "Huang Ju, Powerful Chinese Official, Dies at 68". The New York Times.
- Former leader Jiang visibly shaken at Huang Ju's funeral, Duowei News, 6 June 2007 (Chinese)
- Huang Ju dies, Shanghai public has little sympathy, Duowei News, 2 June 2007 (Chinese)
- Huang Ju funeral simple affair, Duowei News, 6 June 2007 (Chinese)
- biography @ Biography, ChinaVitae.com
- Huang Ju's official biography (Chinese)
- Huang Ju's legacy in Shanghai (Chinese)
|Mayor of Shanghai
|First Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
|Party political offices|
|Communist Party Committee Secretary of Shanghai
|Order of precedence|
|6th Rank of the Communist Party of China
16th Politburo Standing Committee