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Liu Jianchao has extensive diplomatic experience. Photo: VCG via Getty Images

Ex-ambassador and corruption-buster takes over as head of Chinese Communist Party’s diplomatic arm

  • Liu Jianchao, a diplomatic veteran who studied at Oxford University, previously spearheaded efforts to hunt down graft suspects overseas
  • He takes over as head of the International Liaison Department, a body that plays a central role in China’s dealings with North Korea

Liu Jianchao, a former ambassador and point man for China’s international corruption-busting efforts, has been named as head of the Communist Party’s diplomatic arm, the International Liaison Department

The department is in charge of inter-party diplomacy and plays a central role in China’s dealings with North Korea.

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The department’s website listed Liu, a former deputy chief of the general office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, as its chief as of Thursday.

He will take over the job from Song Tao, 67, whose retirement was delayed for two years beyond the normal date for someone of his rank.

Liu, 58, has worked in various roles as a diplomat and corruption-buster. He earned his bachelor's degree in English from Beijing Foreign Studies University and later spent a year studying foreign relations at Oxford University.


He had served twice in the information department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the second time as its chief. Liu was also a spokesperson for the ministry between 2001 and 2009.

Liu later served as ambassador to the Philippines and Indonesia.

In 2015, at the height of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, Liu was appointed head of the international cooperation department of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party’s top anti-corruption body – a role that made him the point man for Beijing’s efforts to hunt down overseas corruption suspects.

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He was appointed the anti-graft chief of Zhejiang province in 2017, heading a pilot body that was later introduced nationwide.

In 2018, Liu moved back to Beijing to the newly founded Central Commission for Foreign Affairs.

Its general office is led by Yang Jiechi, the party’s diplomatic chief and a member of the 25-strong Politburo.