June 28, 2003: Wang Qishan spends the weekend with Beijing residents in Beihai Park during the SARS prevention and control period. [Photo: Xinhua]
Wang was in Washington D.C. on Sept. 14, 2008, for a meeting of the Sino-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade when he heard the news that the Lehman Brothers would declare bankruptcy. Aware that an unprecedented international financial crisis would sweep the globe, Wang immediately informed related financial departments at home, telling them to prepare to deal with worst-case scenarios to ensure domestic financial stability.
Wang later became head of a newly established group to tackle the financial crisis under the State Council. He kept a sober mind and told his colleagues that the world was facing a complicated and severe economic situation, which was full of uncertainty. He also warned that the downturn caused by the international financial crisis and European debt crisis would last long.
Wang asserted that China's major task was to ensure economic growth and employment and urge financial institutions to better serve industry. "Booming industry means booming finance, and stable industry means stable finance," he remarked. He also pointed out that China's financial reform and opening-up should be firmly based on the bottom line that any systematic and regional financial risk was averted.
He also enacted the rule of convening financial meetings regularly to promote coordination to drive financial development, reform, openness, innovation, supervision and service. He often emphasizes that related departments should perform their basic tasks better by being aware of their situation and responsibility with more devotion to providing accurate economic figures.
October 31, 2010: Wang Qishan delivers a speech at the closing ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo. Xinhua (Upper left)
April 15, 2011: Wang Qishan inspects the 109th China Import and Export Fair (also known as the Canton Fair) in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province. by Liu Dongping/Xinhua (Upper right)
In 2008, Wang first headed a delegation to participate in the China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue. Targeting American trade protectionism resulting from its financial slump, Wang said, "Before this visit, many friends told me: 'You have to be cautious, the door of the United States will soon be closed, as protectionism now prevails in the country.' But I told them: 'That's not the America I know.' We can see from history that trade was the foundation that built America, and the United States has been an inclusive land for all races and ethnic groups of the world."
Then he continued, "On my first stop of this visit, I saw the giant arch in St. Louis. The arch, with a frame but no door, is a symbol of the starting point of the United States' westward expansion. America, like this arch, should always be open."
While serving as Vice Premier of the State Council in charge of China's international financial issues, Wang maintained close contact with leaders of European nations and the U.S. as well as BRICS nations in various forms to strengthen talks and bilateral and multilateral cooperation on addressing the international financial crisis and European debt crisis. His enormous preparation contributed to the success of China's top leaders at G20 summits.1 2 3 4 5