As head of an organization important to the promotionof socialist democracy, Li Ruihuan, chairman of the Eighth National Committeeof the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), yesterdaywas re-elected to the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of theCentral Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Party's highestdecision-making body.
Li Ruihuan was born in September 1934 in a peasantfamily in Baodi County in Tianjin, a port city in North China. Between1951 and 1965, he worked as a carpenter in a Beijing construction company.He attended Beijing Spare-time Architecture Engineering Institute between1958 and 1963 and acquired a college certificate. Inventor of the "simplifiedcalculation method," which updated the traditional "lofting"method in carpentry that had been passed down over centuries, Li was knownas a young "Lu Ban," a legendary master carpenter in ancientChina.
Li joined the Party in September 1959. He servedas deputy secretary of the Party Committee of the Beijing Building MaterialsCo after 1965. Between 1966 and 1971 during the "cultural revolution"(1966-76), he was persecuted. After 1971, he held posts as secretary ofthe Party Committee of the Beijing Building Wood Materials Factory, deputysecretary of the Party Committee of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of theBuilding Materials Industry, vice-chairman of the Beijing Capital ConstructionCommission and concurrently director of the Beijing Capital ConstructionHeadquarters, vice-president of the Beijing Municipal Federation of TradeUnions, and standing committee member of the All-China Federation of TradeUnions.
He served as a member of the Secretariat of theCentral Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League (CCYL) and vice-chairmanof the All-China Youth Federation between 1979 and 1981. In 1981-1982,he was a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Tianjin MunicipalCommittee, deputy mayor of the city and member of the CCYL Central CommitteeSecretariat. He was promoted to deputy secretary of the CPC Tianjin MunicipalCommittee and mayor of the city in 1982-87.
Between 1987 and 1989, Li served as a member ofthe Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, secretary of the CPCTianjin Municipal Committee and mayor of Tianjin.
He became a member of the Standing Committee ofthe Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and a member of the CentralCommittee's Secretariat in 1989. He was re-elected a member of the StandingCommittee of the Political Bureau of the 14th CPC Central Committee in1992. In March 1993, he was also elected chairman of the Eighth NationalCommittee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
During his office tenure in Tianjin, he boldlyreformed government work, with focus on improving the urban housing andpublic transit systems. His resolute and practical work style was widelyacclaimed by the local people.
People of Tianjin still remember his live call-inradio and TV programmes. Representatives of citizens raised questions andLi answered them one by one, all in concrete terms. The topics of opendiscussions usually concentrated on reform and issues concerning the dailylife of people.
Li Ruihuan was elected a member of the StandingCommittee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and memberof the Central Committee's Secretariat at the Fourth Plenary Session ofthe 13th CPC Central Committee in 1989. His responsibilities were in theideological field.
Li is enlightened in thinking and diligent instudy. In 1990, he published a book entitled "On Doing Practical Thingsfor the People."
In early 1993, Li was elected chairman of theEighth CPPCC National Committee. After taking office, Li injected renewedvigour into the CPPCC's work with his enlightened political views and practicalattitude. The basic functions of the CPPCC in the past had been describedas political consultation and democratic supervision. Li added new contents-- participation in and deliberation of State affairs. The CPC CentralCommittee issued a notice to Party committees at all levels, requiringthem to create conditions for local CPPCC committees to expand their work.
Li Ruihuan sets great store by the method of study.At the 21st meeting of the Standing Committee of the Eighth National Committeeof the CPPCC, he recommended a method of study that integrates learningof theories with reviewing experiences and studying practical work. Onone hand, he said, reading books is a kind of study and so is applicationand more important at that. On the other hand, the process of book readingis in fact a process of studying practical work and the process of workingis a process of learning and applying theories.
Although Li has been a State leader, his wiferemained a factory worker until her retirement.