Jiang  Weiqiang
China

Jiang Weiqiang

Director-General, International Bureau, State Council Information Office

Jiang Weiqiang and his State Council Information Office colleagues was set to play a leading role in Beijing's media courtship of Africa ahead of the fourth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November 2009. At the FOCAC Media Seminar in Beijing, 15-19 July, Jiang tried to develop a united front with African state media organisations. He insisted that the message of China-Africa cooperation should be taken directly to the people and not depend on Western media, which he described as anti-China and anti-Africa. Representatives from 27 African countries attended, as did Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun and Liu Yunshan, Politburo member and Director of the Central Propaganda Department.

Trained as an engineer, Jiang entered the People's Liberation Army in 1970. While serving, he studied English at the Luoyang PLA College of Foreign Languages, responsible for training intelligence agents. In 1991, Jiang left the PLA to join the SCIO, the administration overseeing China's state media, including the People's Daily newspaper and Xinhua news agency. Xinhua is planning its own multi-billion dollar global and African media expansion (AAC Vol 2 No 4).

From 1996 to 2000, Jiang was seconded from SCIO to New York, where he was spokesman at the Consulate General. As head of SCIO's International Bureau, he masterminded the effort to promote China's social and economic record ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. SCIO also produces China's human rights White Papers. Beijing began releasing these in 1991 to counter criticism of its human rights practices and to articulate a vision of human rights that emphasises economic development while putting political reform on the back burner.

In 2004, SCIO and South Africa's Government Communication and Information System signed an agreement calling for cooperation and exchange programmes. Similar agreements have been signed with Kenya's Ministry of Information.