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The Chinese Government Is Dominated by Scientists and Engineers

Their political elite are largely technocrats.

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Chinese government are full of engineers and scientists



When Chinese Government comes to mind, what things do you generally think of?

Most of you would say The Great Wall, feng shui, their food, pandas, cheap products, communism, and martial arts, among others. All of these are valid observations, as China is indeed famous for such. But I’d like to add something to that list, a thing that is so rare that China has to be remembered for it: most of the political leaders in China are scientists and engineers.

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To prove that fact, let us play a quick game. Name a scientist or an engineer from your country’s top government officials. Don’t cheat with Google, just think of someone that you already know.

Now I doubt that you have thought one especially if you’re in the U.S.

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Nowhere in the world can you see the same admiration and respect from the public to their scientists and engineers other than in China. This is a little known fact.

They admire such professionals so much to the point that they qualify these people to be worthy and capable in handling political affairs. The Chinese people believe that scientists and engineers, who eventually become technocrats, have a highly disciplined mind fit for public office.

Source: Telegraph UK
The Chinese Government Is Dominated by Scientists and Engineers

Directly before the present administration, 8 out of China’s top 9 government officials are scientists and engineers. This leadership has brought laser focus on innovation, bringing much of China’s labor centralized in science, technology, and engineering.

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This was followed by the current political lineup, which relaxed a little from technocracy. The top Chinese leaders are now diverse with former economists, research fellows and a journalist in the league.

Still, scientists and engineers occupy several of China’s highest political offices. Two of these offices are held by Xi Jinping and Yu Zhengsheng.

Xi Jinping, the top leader in the Communist Party of China and the President of the People’s Republic of China, studied chemical engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing, which is the same university where previous Chinese President Hu Jintao went for a degree in hydroelectric engineering. Xi obtained a degree in Marxist degree as well as a Ph.D in law at the Tsinghua Humanities Institute, becoming China’s first national leader to hold such degree.



Yu Zhengsheng, the chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, is also an engineer. He graduated from the specialty of ballistic missile automatic control of the Missile Engineering Department of the Harbin Military Engineering Institute.

Yu spent almost twenty years in the electronics industry before joining the Ministry of Electronics Industry in the 1980s.

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Not only do scientists and engineers dominate the top political offices in China, they can also be found at all levels of the Chinese government. It has long been observed by the Chinese people to elect, or perhaps select due to their election system, politicians with a science or engineering background.

A study by Li Cheng and Lynn White entitled “Elite Transformation and Modern Change in Mainland China and Taiwan: Empirical Data and the Theory of Technocracy” describes the domination of scientists and engineers in the Chinese political elite.

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No wonder we see global dominance of Chinese technology made products such as laptops, 5G technology, home appliances, automotive, smartphones, medicines and  wearable technologies.

These politicians encourage innovations as their key component in transforming China from a cheap products to world class trading destination. Did you know that the best drones brand (DJI) is made in China?

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At the time the authors conducted the study, mayors and Party secretaries of cities of over a million, governors and provincial Party secretaries of China’s provinces, autonomous regions, and province-level municipalities; and Central Committee members were found to be 80% technocrats.

This means that 8 out of 10 among them have four-year degrees or more in science or engineering.

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This technocracy that exists in China is ingrained in their political culture. Mengzi, or Mencius, who was famous for being a loyal follower of Confucius, once said, “Let those who labor with their heads rule those who labor with their hands.”

This was uttered sometime in the 4th or 3rd century BCE, where technology, which was bronze casting, scapulamancy and plastromancy at the time, was dominated by the shamanic priests of the Shang dynasty.


Other political engineering stories you might enjoy reading

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Patricia Eldridge
Patricia took her MBA in London, UK. She's a model, actress, blogger and a copywriter. Her boyfriend is an overworked and underpaid engineer.


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  1. At the end of the day, what makes China dominates around the world? And even Presidents / Leaders of countries are drawn to their influence and power? #Society #People #World #SurvivalOfTheFittest

  2. Here in the Philippines, government are dominated by lawyers…see the difference. This what happened when everyone are expert in law and not in innovation.

  3. Egypt follows the same tradition. The current prime minister, Dr Mostafa Madbouly is an architectural engineer, while the former prime minister Mr Sherif Ismail was a mining engineers, and the prime minster before him was a Mr Ibrahim Mehleb, a civil engineer, and before that the prime minster was Dr Essam Sharaf, an irrigation engineer..

  4. It’s also called Meritocracy. CCP is the brand new “Imperial Examination or Mandarin System 科举”.
    A little quote:
    “Its real name is called Chinese Ruling Party, a benevolent, competent, productive, responsive, prudent, high quality Authoritarian State (one-party political system) with left-wing nationalism, neo-mercantilism, socialism and capitalism (mixed economy), not Chinese Communist Party. It’s the upgraded/modernized version of the old “Imperial Examination or Mandarin System 科举”, emphasize on meritocracy and competency. Meritocracy or Socialism with Chinese characteristics = 科举. Singapore is also a meritocracy country, and is a rich and successful nation. “Mandate of Heaven 天命” is the most essential concept. The Chinese gov’t is effective and efficient aka can get things done, e.g. building mega projects. It’s the most powerful reform organization in modern history. In fact, if the gov’t was a corporation, it was an envy of all corporations. It displays pragmatism and progressive characteristics when needed. China is keeping its traditions alive, and it has survived for 5000 years with this formula. It’s one of the oldest continuing civilizations, and one of the cradle of civilizations. You do not know the secrets and the beauties of China’s system. Now you know why/how Roman Empire collapsed?”

  5. Thanks, every enlightening article!!!
    No wonder they get things done so efficiently!
    Where as our politicians will keep doing the same same but expecting different results, LOL

  6. Much like America so long did, and arguably still does if you include those working specifically in computer science related fields, I hold engineers in awe. I wouldn’t mind if they were a bit more represented in Western political affairs, much like I wouldn’t mind seeing more retired military again, or more doctors, academics, or perhaps some other similar categories. It would be nice to thin the ranks of lawyers and businessmen a bit.

    Still, if I had to choose between a predominantly lawyer political class, which is an execrable situation taken in isolation, and a predominantly engineer or medical class, or any other defined by the self-proclaimed desire to be ‘technocrats’, I’ll stick with the lawyers. Today’s lawyers include a disappointingly large number who desire a technocratic style of government dedicated to some model of wide-scale social reorganization. But at least some of them still had training and instincts that keep them understanding that politics is about balancing and trading off interests, arguments, and claims and keeping things going, not about programmatically directed system building.

  7. Just goes to show that even engineers and scientists aren’t immune to the corrupting allure of power and influence.

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