Wen Jiabao (wĕnˈ jyäˈbouˈ) [key], 1942–, Chinese political leader, b. Tianjin. Originally a geologist, he worked for the Gansu provincial geological bureau (1968–82), where he was the head of its political section, and rose to deputy director general. He later (1982–85) was an officer of the Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources. In 1985 Wen became a deputy director of the general office of the Chinese Communist party's central committee, thus beginning a steady climb up the national party's leadership ladder. He served China's top leaders as chief of staff for some two decades, became deputy premier, and was named premier in 2003. Wen, though regarded more as a technocrat than a reformist, has favored free-market and other reforms, but among party leaders he has been an isolated voice for such changes.
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