By Weng Shiyou & Zhang Xiangdong
Published: 2008-06-02

From News, page 3, Issue 370 on June 2, 2008
Translated by Ren Yujie
Original article

Xie Fuzhan would leave his post after heading China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for 19 months.

On May 28, Xie revealed that he would take on a new role as the director of the State Council Research Office (SCRO) during a conference among NBRS officials.

SCRO is a crucial think tank under the State Council, the Chinese cabinet. It is in charge of drafting important official documents for the Central government, and also drafts major speeches for high-ranking officials.

In addition, the SCRO also researches issues and projects related to national interests and proposes policies.

An official of NBS told the EO that they had talked about Xie's imminent departure from the Bureau. However, Xie would remain as its chief while waiting for the formal appointment of his new post.

In the past 20 years, Xie spent 13 years to gain promotion from a vice-researcher to deputy director of the Development Research Center under the State Council. Then he spent another seven years moving up the ranks as the chief of NBS. His transition to the head of the SCRO only took 19 months.

Xie would take over from Wei Qun, who had been appointed as the executive vice-dean of China National School of Administration. The latter's appointment was announced by a vice-minister of the Central Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party during a conference at the School on May 29.

Zhang Zhanbin, a professor at the School, believed Xie's appointment to the SCRO was due to his vast experience in economic researches, having studied abroad and becoming proficient in macro-economic matters.

Xie became the chief of NBS in October 2006. Soon after that, the State Council's press office announced that the Bureau's former chief, Qiu Xiaohua was suspected of a disciplinary violation and placed under investigation for a case related to the Shanghai social security fund.

Stepping into the post against such backdrop, Xie attracted widespread attention. Some scholars believed that Xie had avoided radical reforms while heading the Bureau for 19 months; instead, he had focused on strengthening fundamental issues.

For instance, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the agriculture sector, NBS carried out a census involving 230 million households and 40,000 villages and towns. The massive exercise started in December 31 2006 and only ended early this year. In addition, for the year ending 2008, another census on the national economy would be launched.

An official from the Bureau's provincial office located in central China told the EO that Xie had pushed for reform in the mechanisms of statistical investigation teams. The reform involved consolidation of personnel, assets and funding.

With Xie's departure, the spotlight would fall on who would succeed him at NBS. An in-circle source revealed that the successor might come from National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).