Qian Qichen

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Qian Qichen
钱其琛
Qian Qichen.jpg
Second-ranked Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
In office
25 March 1993 – 6 March 2003
Premier Li Peng
Zhu Rongji
Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China
In office
12 April 1988 – 18 March 1998
Premier Li Peng
Preceded by Wu Xueqian
Succeeded by Tang Jiaxuan
Personal details
Born (1928-01-05)5 January 1928
Tianjin, Zhili, Republic of China
Died 9 May 2017(2017-05-09) (aged 89)
Beijing, China
Political party Communist Party of China
Spouse(s) Zhou Hanqiong (周寒琼)
Children 2
Signature
Qian Qichen
Traditional Chinese 錢其琛
Simplified Chinese 钱其琛

Qian Qichen (Chinese: 钱其琛; 5 January 1928 – 9 May 2017) was a Chinese diplomat and politician. He served as China's Foreign Minister from April 1988 to March 1998, and as Vice Premier from 1993 to 2003. Since then, no other diplomat-turned-politician has attained such a lofty status in China's political hierarchy.[1]

Qian played a critical role in shaping China's foreign policy during President Jiang Zemin's administration, and was a key player handling the return to Chinese sovereignty of Hong Kong and Macau. He was in charge of border negotiations with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, resulting in a successful settlement of the border dispute and the thawing of the relations between China and Russia. He was also instrumental in handling China's normalization of relations with the West in the difficult period after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Life and career[edit]

Qian Qichen hailed from a prominent scholarly family from Waigang (外冈), Jiading, Jiangsu province (now in Shanghai). He was a descendant of the celebrated Qing dynasty historian Qian Daxin.[2] He was born in Tianjin on 5 January 1928.[3][4]

From 1942 to 1945, Qian attended the Utopia University High School in Shanghai. He secretly joined the Communist Party of China in 1942 at the age of 14. From 1945 to 1949 he worked at the Ta Kung Pao newspaper. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he was member of the Party Committee and Secretary of the Communist Youth League Committees of the Xuhui, Changning, and Yangpu districts of Shanghai.[4]

Qian left for the Soviet Union and studied at the Komsomol Central School in Moscow from 1954 to 1955. From 1955 to 1963, he worked as a diplomat in Moscow.[5] He successively served as Second Secretary in the Chinese Embassy, Director of Department of Overseas Chinese Students and Deputy Director General of the Foreign Department of the Ministry of Higher Education, and Counsellor in the Chinese Embassy.[4][6]

During the Cultural Revolution, Qian was persecuted and sent to perform hard labour at a May Seventh Cadre School from 1966 to 1972. After his political rehabilitation, he served as Ambassador to Guinea (1974–76) and concurrently Ambassador to Guinea-Bissau (1974–75). He went to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1977 and was vice-minister of foreign affairs from 1982 to 1988 and minister from 1988 to 1998. He was Vice Premier of the State Council, under Premiers Li Peng and Zhu Rongji, from 1993 until his retirement in 2003.[4][6][7]

While serving as Director of the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry from 1977 to 1982, he proposed establishing a spokesperson system and became the first spokesperson of the Ministry.[8]

As Foreign Minister, Qian played a critical role in shaping China's foreign policy during President Jiang Zemin's administration,[3] and was a key player handling the return to Chinese sovereignty of Hong Kong and Macau.[9] He was in charge of border negotiations with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, which resulted in a successful settlement of the border dispute and the thawing of the bilateral relations between China and Russia.[3] He was also instrumental in handling China's normalization of relations with the West in the difficult period after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[9] He was the first Chinese diplomat to attend an ASEAN event, going to the 1991 ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Malaysia. This marked the first time China formally acknowledged ASEAN as an institution and laid the groundwork for future ASEAN-China cooperation, like the ASEAN+3 mechanism and the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA).[10]

In 1992, he was tasked with traveling to Pyongyang, North Korea to inform Kim Il-sung that China would be establishing formal diplomatic relations with South Korea.[11]

Qian was a member of the 12th to 15th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. He was a member of the 14th and 15th Politburo of the Communist Party of China.[4]

In November 2005, Qian was awarded the highest honour of Mongolia, for his contributions to China–Mongolia relations.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Qian was fluent in Russian and English, and understood some French.[4] He was married to Zhou Hanqiong (周寒琼). They had a son and a daughter.[4] He published a memoir in 2004, entitled Ten Episodes in China's Diplomacy (error: {{lang}}: unrecognized language tag: zh-han (help)).[11]

Death[edit]

Qian died on 9 May 2017 in Beijing, at the age of 89.[9][12] He was officially eulogized as "an excellent Communist Party member, a time-tested and loyal communist soldier, a proletarian revolutionist, and an outstanding diplomat."[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Former Chinese vice-premier Qian Qichen dies, aged 90". Today Online. Retrieved 11 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "上海嘉定走出的外交家钱其琛". The Paper (in Chinese). 10 May 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c "Former Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen dies at 89: Xinhua". Nikkei. 11 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "钱其琛". People's Daily (in Chinese). Retrieved 2017-05-10. 
  5. ^ Buckley, Chris (12 May 2017). "Qian Qichen, Pragmatic Chinese Envoy, Dies at 89". The New York Times. p. B14. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Qian Qichen". Foreign Ministry of China. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 
  7. ^ Encyclopedia of China, Vol. 17 (2nd edition, 中国大百科全书(第二版)第17册) (in Chinese). Encyclopedia of China Publishing House. 2009. p. 588. ISBN 978-7-500-07958-3. 
  8. ^ "Qian Qichen". People's Daily. 
  9. ^ a b c d "China's 'outstanding' former top diplomat Qian Qichen dies, aged 89". South China Morning Post. 10 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Full Text: China-ASEAN Cooperation: 1991–2011
  11. ^ a b Jiangtao, Shi (May 12, 2017). "When late diplomat Qian Qichen had to give North Korea's leader some very bad news". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on May 12, 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Former Chinese foreign minister Qian dies aged 89". The Star Online. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2017. 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Wu Xueqian
Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China
1988–1998
Succeeded by
Tang Jiaxuan