A high-profile multi-disciplinary official has been appointed as the director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office under China’s State Council.
Pan Yue, 60, is a theorist in the Communist Party who has conducted research in the fields of politics, religion, culture and environmental protection.
He will take over from the incumbent Xu Yousheng, who will remain as the vice minister of the United Front Work Department.
Pan was responsible for handling smog, sandstorms and the pollution of land and water when he was the vice minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration. During his tenure, he announced stopping the construction of the Xiluodu Dam on the Jinsha River, mainland China’s second largest dam after the Three Gorges Dam. The decision was regarded in the media as a bold move against vested interest groups, and he received promotions thereafter.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping was the governor of Fujian province in the early 2000s, he wrote an article in 2002 on the appointment of officials in Nanping city and received praise from Pan.
Pan came from a family whose members were among the party elite. His father was one of the pioneers of the Qinghai-Tibet railway.
The younger Pan headed the reporting unit of the China Environment News when it was founded in 1984. He wrote a 14,000-word report on China’s strategic choices after the Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing in 1989. The poetry he wrote had been praised by influential Chinese scholar Nan Huai-chin. In 2010, Pan received the Ramon Magsaysay Award recognizing his work on the environment.
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