Wan Shaofen earned the distinction in the 1980s of becoming China's first woman secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) provincial committee.
Wan was born in 1930 in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi Province. She graduated from Zhongzheng University (later known as Nanchang University) and joined the CPC in 1952.
Wan began her career in the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) branch of the Nanchang City Committee. She later became a standing committee member of the CPC Jiangxi Provincial Committee.
Advanced Political Concept
On June 16, 1985, the Eighth Party Congress of Jiangxi Province elected Wan as secretary of the CPC Jiangxi Provincial Committee.
On the occasion of being the first woman ever to be appointed to such a high-ranking position, Wan said in her inaugural speech that she would "be fair to the people of Jiangxi and to women throughout the nation."
Soon after taking up office, Wan Shaofen's vigor and courage won her praise and commendation among local cadres and residents. Her political wisdom and work mode, which differed from the usual bureaucratic approach, appealed to retired leaders.
In 1985, Wan made a point of saying that cadres should exert their rights to serve the people. The same year she organized other provincial leaders in law study groups, and bade cadres at all levels to work strictly according to the law. During her inspection tour of Jiujiang in 1987, Wan called for adherence to the Reform and Opening-up Policy. On July 3 of the same year, Wan's speech, in which she declared, "We must stick to, support and protect whatever is beneficial to the liberation of productive forces, promotion of socialist modernization construction and improvement of living standards," appeared on the front page of the Jiangxi Daily.
Propel the Economy
Wan's main concern was to promote development of the province's old revolutionary base areas and reform and opening-up.
"There are more than 90 counties in Jiangxi, and 78 are old revolutionary base areas. I must guide local people in improving their lives," Wan Shaofen said.
To this end, Wan organized more than 12,000 cadres of all ranks in these areas in projects to improve local people's livelihood.
Wan regarded Jiujiang Bridge, whose construction began in 1973, as a crucial to Jiangxi's economic progress. She discussed construction of the bridge in March 1986 with then Vice Premier Wan Li, who paid a visit to Jiujiang in November the same year. Suspended construction of the bridge finally resumed, with the approval of the State Council, in April the next year.
Jiangxi's revenue grew 20% to 30% year-on-year during Wan's three-year term in the province, and the province's industrial and agricultural output growth was faster than the national average. More than 2,000 projects were launched in the old revolutionary base areas and more than 2,000 kilometers of roads constructed.
Jiangxi's economy thrived under Wan's strong leadership. Efforts to improve the party's style of work and build a clean government also gained ground.
Bridge of Friendship
A new chapter in Wan Shaofen's life began in 1988 with her appointment as vice-minister of the CPC Central Committee United Front Work Department.
Wan was placed in charge of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs, also of overseas contacts and cooperation in the economic field.
Wan received more than 600 delegations and visited dozens of countries and regions. Wherever she went she made a point of meeting and talking with overseas Chinese in efforts to bolster mutual understanding and bring first-hand information as well as greetings from the motherland.
Wan's motto has always been "faith, diligence, integrity." Well-known Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-shing praised her as "a person worthy of respect and trust."
Former President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong Rita Fan said of Wan, "She is sincere and has a good image among Hong Kong women. We all like her."
As honorary president of the China Charity Federation, Wan has invested much of her time and energy in charity work.
During the 1998 flood relief effort, Wan traveled more than 1,400 kilometers to nine flood-hit counties in Jiangxi Province taking with her relief materials worth 76.6 million yuan (US$ 11.26 million).
She introduced investment for the building of more than 10 libraries, teaching buildings, science and technology buildings and rural parks. She also launched scholarships to help students in need. "Bringing joy to others is my happiness," Wan once said.
(Source: xwtd.cn / Translated by womenofchina.cn)
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