Citizens recall 'pragmatic cadre's' contributions

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 June, 2007, 12:00am

Huang Ju was never as popular as some past Shanghai leaders, but citizens yesterday recalled his contributions to the city.

With the news of his death coming too late to make the morning newspapers, many learned through the midday television news, which led with the story by showing a black and white photo of the late leader.

'I remember Huang Ju as a pragmatic and low-profile cadre,' said Jiang Zhen, a retired manager for a tobacco company.

Others described him as a 'politician'. 'He was a good talker, but people didn't trust him,' said a retired worker from a pharmaceutical company.

While serving in Shanghai, he famously pledged to the central government that the city would follow the path of socialism, abide by state economic policies, and give more revenue to state coffers.

But he was remembered for delivering on one promise to the common people.

'When Huang Ju was in Shanghai, he did one thing that satisfied people to some extent,' said a retired university professor. 'He raised the salary level of Shanghai citizens, and it has been called the 'Huang Ju salary' ever since.'

Shanghai also recorded double-digit economic growth and launched a slew of massive infrastructure projects during Huang's reign.

Asked about Huang while he was mayor and then party secretary, many people mentioned rumours of corruption, which were never proven. He was not as well-liked in Shanghai as other mayors such as Zhu Rongji and Xu Kuangdi .

Mr Zhu later became premier, while Mr Xu became head of the Chinese Academy of Engineering after he lost out in a power struggle to Chen Liangyu , the Shanghai party secretary who was sacked last year for stealing from the city's pension fund.

The closest many ever got to Huang was seeing him on television. 'I remember whenever Huang Ju appeared on television, he always had a smile on his face,' said Xu Liangguo, a manager at a state-owned company.

At one of his last public appearances in Shanghai before his promotion in 2002, Huang joked about his age.

Additional reporting by Laura Liu


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