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Wang Zhongyu
Secretary General, State Council
He helps steer reform in the State Council

If you imagine running China's economy to be like performing a complex concerto, Wang Zhongyu and Zhu Rongji would be perfectly in tune. Wang's power derives in large part from the fact that he is both a state councilor and secretary-general of that council - China's highest executive body. Key to his clout, too, is that he is in synch with the premier on nearly all aspects of economic reform. That's what brought them together. They met in 1991 when Zhu, just named vice-premier, was on an inspection tour of Jilin province in the northeast. Wang was governor and, after working 12 years in provincial government, had developed a vision for state-owned-enterprise reform that dovetailed with Zhu's. The vice premier was impressed. A year later he named Wang vice minister of the State Economic and Trade Commission, and in 1993 promoted him to minister. Wang worked faithfully and was duly rewarded. When Zhu became premier in March 1998, he named Wang to the State Council posts, which position him admirably to guide structural reform. The postings give Zhu a critical advantage considering the immense bureaucratic resistance he faces at every turn in pushing through his ambitious agenda.

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Photo: Xinhua