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Zhu Rongji, Premier of the State Council of China since 1998-2003, is recognized as a great economic planner because of his achievements of successful macro-economic control in the past three years.
Zhu was born in Changsha, capital of Central China's Hunan Province. He joined the Party in October 1949. After graduation from the prestigious Qinghua University where he majored in electrical engineering, he served as deputy head of the production planning office of the Northeast China Ministry of Industries. He then worked in the State Planning Commission and the State Economic Commission for years, where he was acknowledged as an official who "knows economics."
In 1987, Zhu was appointed mayor of Shanghai, China's largest industrial and financial city. His three-year term as Shanghai mayor saw tremendous changes in the development and opening-up of Pudong, and in telecommunications, urban construction and communications. For these he won confidence inside and outside the Party and acclaim from the common people.
In 1991, Zhu was appointed vice-premier of the State Council and director of the State Council Production Office. Zhu Rongji has focused his attention on tackling tough economic problems in industry, agriculture and finance.
In his first news conference as premier, Zhu Rongji detailed a bold plan for trimming the bureaucracy and revitalizing education by the turn of the century.
The eight-point effort called for a moderate economic growth rate of 8 percent, while keeping inflation below 3 percent and ensuring the stability of the national currency.
At the same time, Zhu said he will overhaul five sectors of the economy, including agriculture, banking and the tax system.
Zhu started with an overhaul of the nation's bloated bureaucracy and a 50 percent cut in the number of government workers.
With the government put in line, Zhu turned his attention to the economy and money-losing state-owned enterprises.
Zhu said, "Large and medium-sized enterprises will be lifted out of their current difficult situation and we will establish modern enterprise systems in these companies."
When Deng Xiaoping, the de facto leader of the People's Republic of China, started economic reforms in 1978, he looked for like-minded economic advisors and sought out Zhu. Deng politically rehabilitated Zhu on the strength of Zhu's forward-thinking and bold economic ideas. Deng once said that Zhu "has his own views, dares to make decisions and knows economics."