Tan Shaowen

Tan Shaowen
Communist Party Chief of Tianjin
In office
September 1989  February 1993
Preceded by Li Ruihuan
Succeeded by Nie Bichu
Chairman of the CPPCC Municipal Committee of Tianjin
In office
May 1988  April 1990
Preceded by Wu Zhen (吴振)
Succeeded by Liu Jinfeng (刘晋峰)
Personal details
Born (1929-07-04)July 4, 1929
Xinjin County, Sichuan
Died February 3, 1993(1993-02-03) (aged 63)
Political party Communist Party of China

Tan Shaowen (Chinese: 谭绍文; July 4, 1929 – February 3, 1993) was a Chinese politician. He served as the Communist Party Chief and top leader of the direct-controlled municipality of Tianjin, and was a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China,[1] one of the most powerful political bodies in the People's Republic of China.[2] However, he died in 1993 before completing the full term of his office.[3]

Early life and career

Tan Shaowen was born on July 4,[4] 1929 in Xinjin County, Sichuan province.[1] Both his parents worked as post and telecommunications employees.[4] He attended primary and secondary school in Xinjin.[4][5]

From 1948 to 1952 Tan attended several institutes of higher learning, including the Ming Yin College in Chengdu Textile Engineering and the Northwest Institute of Textile Engineering.[4][5]

He was assigned to a state-owned cotton mill in Tianjin as a technician from 1953 to 1958. He became a teacher, and eventually the deputy director of the Woven Textile Industry School in Tianjin.[4]

From 1958 to 1966 he was the Vice Director of the Hebei Institute of Textiles' Office of Academic Affairs.[4] He eventually went on to become the President of the Hebei University of Technology.[1]

Political career

In May 1953, Tan joined the Communist Youth League of China, and became a full member of the party in May 1955.[4][5]

From August 1981 to May 1982, he served as the Deputy Director, the Deputy Party Secretary, and eventually the Director of the Tianjin Education Committee.[4][5]

In May 1982, Tan Shaowen became a member of the CPC Tianjin Committee, and was promoted to Deputy Communist Party Chief of Tianjin in March 1983.[3] He was responsible for education, science and technology, and propaganda in Tianjin.[4] In May 1988 he became Chairman of the CPPCC Municipal Committee of Tianjin, and in September 1989 he was promoted to Communist Party Chief, the top government post of Tianjin.[3]

In October 1992, Tan Shaowen became a member of the 14th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and was subsequently elected by that committee to serve in the 14th Politburo of the Communist Party of China, under the leadership of Jiang Zemin.[1][4][6][7] Tan was supposedly drawn into the central leadership in order to counteract the growing trend for local politicians to ignore the policy of the central government.[5][8]

Due to his early death, Tan served in only one of the seven Plenary Sessions of the 14th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.[7]

Political achievements

Tan Shaowen is credited with the modernisation of the Tianjin education system, as well as undertaking a series of measures to bolster Tianjin's economy.[5] In terms of economic reform, Tan focused mainly on medium to large state-owned enterprises, and also constructed several development zones in Tianjin, including the New Technology Industrial Park. He also constructed urban and economic infrastructure, and promoted Tianjin to foreign investors.[4]


Tan died in Tianjin on February 3, 1993 at the age of 63 due to lung cancer.[5][9] His death was significant, as it meant that the city of Tianjin was no longer represented in the Politburo.[10] The next Tianjin party chief to gain a seat on the Politburo was Zhang Lichang in 2002.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Tan Shaowen 谭绍文". China Vitae. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  2. "Understanding China's Political System" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 谭绍文 [Tan Shaowen] (in Chinese). China.com. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "February 3.1993-Secretary of the CPC Tianjin Municipal Committee, Tan Shaowen's death". 2013-02-03. Archived from the original on 14 July 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 de Goldfiem, Jacques. "Décès de Tan Shaowen, jeune membre du Bureau politique". Chinese Perspectives. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  6. Lamb, Malcolm. Directory of Officials and Organizations in China, Volume 1. M. E. Sharpe.
  7. 1 2 "中国共产党第十四次全国代表大会". CPC.
  8. "Tan Shaowen". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  9. "Tan Shaowen Chinese Official, 63". New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  10. Bo, Zhiyue. Chinese Provincial Leaders: Economic Performance and Political Mobility ... M. E. Sharpe.
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