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Cablegate: Shanghai Women's Federation Chairwoman On Plenum Outcomes

VZCZCXRO4080
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHGH #0404/01 2680642
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250642Z SEP 09
FM AMCONSUL SHANGHAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8296
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3084
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 2217
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0074
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0674
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 2381
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 2208
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 2012
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0122
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 8948

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 SHANGHAI 000404

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV SOCI PHUM ECON PREL OIIP KPAO CH
SUBJECT: SHANGHAI WOMEN'S FEDERATION CHAIRWOMAN ON PLENUM OUTCOMES
AND FUTURE OF NGOS

REF: A. (A) BEIJING 2731
B. (B) SHANGHAI 381
C. (C) SHANGHAI 110

(U) This cable is sensitive but unclassified and for official
use only. Not for distribution outside of USG channels or via
the internet.

Summary

-------

1. (SBU) The Chairwoman of the Shanghai Women's Federation
discussed her views on the recently concluded CPC Central
Committee Plenary Session and challenges facing NGOs with the
Consul General on the margins of the 7th Shanghai International
Forum for Children. During the forum's opening ceremony, the
Consul General delivered a speech focusing on the importance of
civil society and the contributions of NGOs, a message that
appeared to be well-received by the more than 200 people in
attendance. End Summary.

Views on the Plenum

-------------------

2. (SBU) During a September 23 discussion with the Consul
General, Madame Zhang Lili, Chairwoman of the Shanghai Women's
Federation, indicated she had participated in one of the
preparatory meetings where local figures had been consulted
about the draft document for the annual CPC Central Committee
plenary session (Ref A). (Note: Zhang is a member of the
Shanghai Municipal CPC Committee.) According to Zhang, the
"decision" reached at the Plenum had six main points, one of
which was to "serve the public" -- an objective Zhang said is
directly related to the work of the Shanghai Women's Federation.
As a "public organization under the leadership of the CPC,"
Zhang emphasized that the Shanghai Women's Federation "attached
great importance" to its role in serving the public.

3. (SBU) Asked how the Party advances the prospects of women in
politics, Zhang said the Shanghai Women's Federation has two
primary goals: (1) to protect women when their rights are
violated, and (2) to recommend women for leadership positions
and involve women in the political process. Zhang said former
Vice Premier Wu Yi was very supportive of promoting more women
into leadership roles. Zhang agreed with the Consul General
that the promotion of Wang Yanwen from Mayor to Party Secretary
of Jiangsu Province's Yangzhou Municipality was significant (Ref
B). She added that with more women in leadership positions, the
Shanghai Women's Federation increasingly plays a role as a
networking organization such as when Shanghai hosted a meeting
of women mayors last year, an event which focused on Shanghai's
economic development as well as personal issues such as how to
maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Film on PRC Founding Rewrites History for the Stars

--------------------------------------------- ------

4. (SBU) Zhang told the Consul General she recently saw the
movie, "Foundation of a Republic" (Jianguo Daye), which was
released September 17. The film tells the story of the
establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1,
1949 and was released just prior to the 60th anniversary. Zhang
said a scene featuring Chinese movie star Zhang Ziyi where a
group of women delegates disagreed with Mao Zedong about the
design of the new PRC flag was not historically accurate.
However, Zhang said she was happy to see what she thought was an

SHANGHAI 00000404 002 OF 003


accurate and "representative" depiction of Song Qingling (i.e.,
Mme Sun Yat-sen) and Deng Yingchao (wife of the late Premier
Zhou Enlai), who Zhang said were "outstanding women who made a
huge impact."

The Growing Importance of NGOs

------------------------------

5. (SBU) Zhang observed that NGOs and social organizations are
"developing rapidly" in Shanghai. (Comment: Nearly all of the
speakers during the forum's opening ceremony highlighted the
contributions of NGOs to women's and children's issues. End
Comment.) As a "United Front" organization, the Shanghai
Women's Federation, like other Government-organized NGOs
(GONGOs), is a large-scale organization with some influence on
the government. The Women's Federation "helps the CPC solve
problems," Zhang said, and in return, the Women's Federation
receives funding from the Central Government.

6. (SBU) Asked to explain the situation of NGOs in China, Zhang
said that the government is "supportive" of new NGOs and social
organizations that are not affiliated with the government. The
Shanghai Women's Federation, for example, is an umbrella
organization for several other social organizations such as the
Women's Lawyers Association, Women's Engineers Association, and
Women's Doctors Association. All associations should have
written charters, a leadership structure, and register with the
Bureau of Civil Affairs, Zhang said.

Increasing International Cooperation

------------------------------------

7. (SBU) The Shanghai Women's Federation would like to establish
more partnerships with international organizations, Zhang said,
but she acknowledged the challenges of registering foreign NGOs
in China. The Shanghai Women's Federation cooperates with
several international NGOs, including the YWCA and Save the
Children, Zhang said. Zhang acknowledged that forcing NGOs to
find a government partner can skew their work; for example,
while the YWCA is partnered with the Women's Federation, the
YMCA currently is partnered with the Communist Youth League
(CYL). According to Zhang, the Shanghai 2010 World Expo will
give the Shanghai Women's Federation and other United Front
organizations (including the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese
People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)) more
opportunities to reach out to international partners for
exchanges.

Opening Ceremony Focuses on NGOs

--------------------------------

8. (SBU) During the forum's opening ceremony, the Consul General
delivered a speech focusing on the importance of civil society
and the contributions of NGOs, a message that appeared to be
well-received by the more than 200 people in attendance. Other
speakers, including a representative from Save the Children,
also called for more opportunities for NGOs to serve women and
children in China. Shanghai Vice Mayor Zhao Wen said helping
children is "the responsibility of government, society, and
people," and the Shanghai Municipal Government "wants to promote
international cooperation on children's issues."

Bio Notes

SHANGHAI 00000404 003 OF 003

---------

9. (SBU) Zhang Lili, Chairwoman of the Shanghai Women's
Federation, is 56-years-old and is a native of Shanghai. She
joined the CPC in August 1973. Zhang graduated from Shanghai
Second Polytechnic University, majoring in industrial
engineering and engineering management and holds a master's
degree in engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University. During
the Cultural Revolution, Zhang worked as a farmer, teacher and
government administrative officer in Yunnan Province. In May
1979, Zhang returned to Shanghai and worked as editor and
announcer of a radio station. She worked her way up through CPC
posts in Changning District and was named Deputy Party Secretary
of the district's CPC Committee in 1998. She moved laterally to
Zhabei District in 2003 and was named Chairwoman of the Shanghai
Women's Federation in February 2007.

10. (SBU) Vice Mayor Zhao Wen is the only woman and the only one
of Shanghai Municipality's eight vice mayors who is not a member
of the Communist Party. (Zhao heads the Shanghai branch of the
September 3 Society, one of the eight "democratic parties"
affiliated with the CPC.) Vice Mayor Zhao's portfolio includes
sports, tourism, intellectual property rights, family planning,
culture, and women's and children's issues. A native of Anqing
in Anhui Province, Zhao's career began as a professor in the
Tongji University School of Economics and Management. She first
entered the political sphere as a Vice Governor of Nanhui
District and later moved to the Municipal People's Congress
Finance Bureau. Zhao was named Vice Mayor of Shanghai
Municipality in January 2008.
CAMP

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