▪ 2006Chinese businessman and government official (b. May 1, 1916, Wuxi, China—d. Oct. 27, 2005, Beijing, China), served (1979–93) as president of the China International Trust and Investment Corp. (CITIC), the nation's main investment arm and one of its largest state-owned enterprises; in this position he earned the nickname “the Red capitalist” for helping launch free-market reforms and open China's economy to the West. Rong, who was listed in 1999 by Forbes magazine as the richest person in China (with an estimated net worth of $1 billion), also served (1993–98) as China's vice president. Educated at British-run St. John's University in Shanghai, Rong had taken over the operation of a number of businesses owned by his family at the time the communists came to power in China in 1949. Several of his siblings subsequently left China. Rong stayed, however, even though the government became a 50% partner in his businesses in 1955. From 1957 he was deputy mayor of Shanghai, and from 1959 he served as deputy minister of the textile industry, but he was stripped of both posts in 1966 when Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution. Rong's businesses were seized, and he was beaten and made to work in menial jobs. He was eventually rehabilitated under Deng Xiaoping, who ascended to power following Mao's death in 1976. In 1979 Deng asked Rong to help with China's new “open door” economic reforms. After forming CITIC, Rong operated the corporation like a capitalist enterprise as he successfully sought to attract foreign capital to China. In May 1989 Rong allowed his employees to participate in pro-democracy demonstrations, but he later supported the government's military repression of the Tiananmen Square demonstrators. At the time of Rong's death, his son, Rong Zhijian, was head of CITIC's Hong Kong-based subsidiary, CITIC Pacific.
* * *▪ Chinese officialWade-Giles romanization Jung I-jenborn May 1, 1916, Wuxi, Jiangsu province, Chinadied October 26, 2005, BeijingChinese businessman and politician. He was the founder (in 1979) and president of China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC), China's largest investment company at the time, and later (1993–98) was vice president of China.Rong was educated at a British-run university—St. John's, in Shanghai—and was directing his family's flour, textile, and banking businesses when the communists came to power in China in 1949. Though four of his six brothers left China, he remained and continued to run the family businesses, even after the government became a 50-percent partner in 1956. Even though Rong was not a communist, he was appointed deputy mayor of Shanghai (1957) and deputy minister of the textile industry (1959). In 1966, however, at the outset of the Cultural Revolution, Rong was seized by Red Guards, beaten, and assigned to menial jobs, and his business holdings were confiscated. With the rise in influence of Political Bureau reformer Deng Xiaoping seven years later, Rong once again became active in government affairs.In 1979 Deng asked him to help with China's new “open door” economic reforms. Rong formed CITIC to attract the foreign capital and skills needed to expand China's business interests and modernize its aging industries. The corporation operates like a capitalist enterprise: it runs a bank in competition with government banks; arranges loans; sells bonds in overseas markets; invests in and imports equipment for Chinese businesses; and owns businesses in other countries, including Australia, Canada, and the United States. In May 1989 Rong allowed his employees to participate in pro-democracy demonstrations, but he later supported the government's military repression of the demonstrators. After serving for a time as vice chairman of the National People's Congress, Rong was elected vice president of China in 1993; he left office in 1998.
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