Prof. Li Zhaoxing
Professor Li Zhaoxing is a senior Chinese diplomat and an expert in international affairs. Currently he is a member of the standing committee of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC), the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NPC, a member of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Honorable President of the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, and the President of the China Association for International Friendly Contact. He is also an honorary professor of many Mainland universities such as Peking University, Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
Professor Li began his diplomatic career in Africa in the 1970s, where he first served as staff member and attache of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya. Positions he has served since then included staff member, Deputy Division Chief, Deputy Director General and Director General of the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Assistant to the Foreign Minister; Deputy Foreign Minister; First Secretary at the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Lesotho; China’s Permanent Representative and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Nations; and the Chinese Ambassador to the US. In 2003, he was sworn in as the ninth Foreign Minister of the country.
In his diplomatic life of 40 years, Professor Li has made huge contributions to the expansion and the development of the country’s diplomatic affairs. His talents were manifested notably in his service as the Chinese Ambassador to the US. In face of the crisis evoked in 1999 as a result of the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Professor Li endeavoured to keep US-Chinese relations on track and move to steady improvement and development. On January 29th, 2001, the last day of his term in the position, the Mayor of Washington DC announced that day as “Li Zhaoxing’s Day” to recognize his contributions to the US-Chinese relations. In 2004 he received the Chilean Neruda Presidential Medal from the Chilean Ambassador to China, on the 100th birthday of Pablo Neruda, a renowned Chilean poet and a Nobel Prize Winner.
Known as a “poetic foreign minister”, Professor Li is a scholar of some literary attainment. He has published several books including Colors of the Land: A Trip to Kenya, China the Youthful,and The Collected Poems of Li Zhaoxing.