Cablegate: Female Official Named New Fujian Party Secretary
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #0677/01 3490803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150803Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1173
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE 0377
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0941
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0305
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0306
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 0315
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0374
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 0279
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC 0108
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC 0350
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC 0346
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0023
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 000677
STATE FOR EAP/CM, INR/B
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR ECON SOCI SCUL CH TW
SUBJECT: Female Official Named New Fujian Party Secretary
GUANGZHOU 00000677 001.2 OF 002
(U) This document is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly. Not for release outside U.S. government channels. Not
for internet publication.
1. (SBU) Summary and comment: Twenty-five years since the last woman
was appointed to a provincial party secretary position, the Chinese
central government has named Sun Chunlan as the new Party Secretary
of Fujian Province. Sun's appointment suggests a further expansion
of President Hu Jintao's influence and a greater political focus on
cross-strait relations with Taiwan. End summary and comment.
Woman Leader Steps into Limelight
2. (SBU) Sun Chunlan, former vice chairwoman and party secretary of
the All China Federation of Trade Union (ACFTU), was promoted to
Party Secretary of Fujian Province on November 30, 2009. She is the
only woman currently holding a provincial party secretary position
and only the third woman to be given such a title since 1949. The
last such appointment was nearly 25 years ago. An online
commentator stated that as a woman, she is proud of Sun's work and
hopes that she will lead Fujian to a brighter future.
3. (SBU) Comment: Sun's appointment is part of a larger mid-term
shuffling of provincial leaders by the Chinese central government
since the 17th Party Congress, indicating the start of strategic
maneuverings in preparation for the 18th Party Congress in 2012 when
China's fifth generation leaders are expected to take the reins.
Reportedly part of the Tuanpai faction with Communist Youth League
(CYL) background -- Hu's power base -- Sun's appointment signals
further consolidation of Hu's power and his influence over China's
current and future leadership. Currently 59 years-old, Sun may
continue to serve as Fujian's Party Secretary after the next Party
Congress before hitting the retirement age of 65. If Politburo
Member and State Councilor Liu Yandong -- China's most senior female
official -- retires in 2012 and the leadership desires to replace
Liu with another woman, there might be an opportunity for Sun to be
elevated to the Politburo, where officials are permitted to serve
until age 67. End comment.
4. (SBU) In spite of Sun's apparent Tuanpai links, she is also said
to have developed amicable working relations with the "princelings,"
leaders who owe their power largely to family connections.
Specifically, Sun and Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai served
together for many years in Liaoning and reportedly worked well
together. Internet commentators speculated that her appointment as
Fujian Party Secretary owed partially to her ability to balance the
Western Strait Economic Development Plan a Priority
5. (SBU) Sun likely will focus on Fujian's top development priority
-- implementation of the "Western Strait Economic Development Plan"
and relations with Taiwan. However, some have expressed concerns
about her relative lack of economic experience. Some online
political commentators stated that the Western Strait Economic
Development Plan will only become a slogan under Sun's leadership
and that they don't expect Fujian to achieve any economic goals in
the near future. Other online commentators suggested that her
political background is only useful in eliminating any instability
in the province.
Labor Paves the Way for Sun
6. (SBU) Having served both in the All China Women's Federation and
the ACFTU, Sun comes to Fujian with a strong labor background.
(Comment: Ties with the ACFTU are not rare for Fujian's leaders;
former Fujian Party Secretary Lu Zhan Gong worked for the ACFTU
before coming to Fujian, and Sun's former ACFTU boss, Wang Zhaoguo,
was Fujian Party Secretary before heading the ACFTU. End comment.)
As vice chairwoman of the Liaoning ACFTU from 1991 to 1993, a
challenging period for China's state-owned enterprise reforms, Sun's
work ultimately elevated her to chairwoman of the organization in
1995. Sun was also rumored in the Chinese press to be responsible
for the drafting of China's Labor Contract Law, which became
effective in January 2008.
GUANGZHOU 00000677 002.2 OF 002
7. (U) Sun Chunlan, born in 1950, is a native of Raoyang, Hebei
Province. She joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in May 1973
and was educated at the CPC Central Party School. In her first job
at a watch factory in Anshan City, Liaoning Province during the
height of the Cultural Revolution, Sun quickly moved into a CYL
leadership position after just five years. At 24, she was promoted
to be party secretary of the CYL at the Anshan Light Industry
Bureau. Beginning in 1988, she served as director of Anshan's
Women's Federation. From 1991 to 1993, Sun was vice chairwoman of
the Liaoning ACFTU and became chairwoman two years later.
8. (U) In 1995, Sun began her political ascent, adding member of the
Standing Committee of the Liaoning CPC committee to her many roles.
Within ten years, she moved through the ranks as President of the
Liaoning Provincial CPC Party School, Party Secretary of Dalian, and
Deputy Secretary of the Liaoning CPC Committee. In this last
position, she was deputy to then Liaoning Party Secretary and
current Vice Premier Li Keqiang. From the 2005 to 2009, Sun served
as Vice President and Party Secretary of the national-level ACFTU.