John L. Thornton China Center

Meng Jianzhu 孟建柱

One of China's Top Future Leaders to Watch

Meng Jianzhu 

  • Born 1947
  • State councilor (2008–present)
  • Minister of Public Security (2007–present)
  • Full member of the Central Committee of the CCP (2002–present)

Personal and Professional Background

Meng Jianzhu was born in 1947 in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province (some official biographers say that Meng was born in Wuxian County, Jiangsu Province, and that Suzhou was his ancestral home). Meng joined the CCP in 1971. Early in his career, he worked as a sailor, a dispatcher, a branch Chinese Communist Youth League secretary, and a branch party secretary of the Transportation Fleet of the Qianwei Collective Farm, Shanghai (1968–1976). Meng served as deputy party secretary and head of the Qianwei Collective Farm (1977–1986), party secretary of Chuansha County, Shanghai (1986– 1990), and party secretary of Jiading County, Shanghai (1990–91). He graduated with a master’s degree (through part-time studies) in Engineering Systems from the Shanghai Institute of Mechanical Engineering (1991). Meng served as party secretary of the Rural Work Commission of the CCP Committee of Shanghai (1991–92), deputy chief of staff of the Shanghai Municipal Government (1992–93), vice mayor of Shanghai (1993–96), and deputy party secretary of Shanghai (1996–2001). He was transferred to Jiangxi Province and served there as party secretary (2001–2007). Meng was first elected to the Central Committee as an alternate member at the 15th Party Congress (1997).

Family and Patron-Client Ties

Meng has long been considered a “member of the ‘Shanghai Gang’” (a leader who has advanced largely through strong patron-client ties with Jiang Zemin, who was in charge of Shanghai in the 1980s). Meng was also favored by Zhu Rongji when Zhu was in charge of Shanghai as mayor and party secretary. It was believed that Meng failed in a power struggle with Chen Liangyu for the post of mayor of Shanghai in 2001 and then moved to Jiangxi Province to serve as party secretary. Meng’s wife, Jiang Qifang, previously served as deputy party secretary of the Shanghai Wenguang Communication Group and head of the Shanghai Cable TV station.[1]

Political Prospects and Policy Preferences

Should Meng be selected to serve as a member on the next PSC, it would constitute a two-level promotion. He would most likely succeed Zhou Yongkang as secretary of the Central Political and Legislative Committee, which is responsible for public security. If he does not make the PSC, he would likely be able to obtain a seat in the Politburo and concurrently serve in one of the following three posts: secretary of the Central Political and Legislative Committee, vice premier, or party secretary of Shanghai. Meng’s policy priority will be to maintain sociopolitical stability and promote Shanghai’s role as the dual global center of finance and shipping.


[1] For more discussion of the background of Meng Jianzhu and his wife Jiang Qifang 蒋其芳, see Meng Jianzhu, “The peacefully completed Beijing Olympic Games and a better chance for career promotion” (孟建柱: “平安奥运” 加码仕途), CBF China’s Economy and Commerce Monthly (CBF中国经贸聚焦), October 15, 2008,

Editor's Note: The profile above was prepared by the China Center's Cheng Li and originally appeared in the China Leadership Monitor.