Yi Gang: New central bank governor's academic career
China's top legislature appointed Yi Gang as the new governor of the country's central bank on Monday to succeed Zhou Xiaochuan, who had held the position for 15 years.
 
Yi, 60, is a technocrat with overseas experience. In 1994, he co-founded the China Center for Economic Research (CCER), now known as the National School of Development with five other economists—Lin Yifu, Hai Wen, Zhang Weiying, Zhang Fan and Yu Mingde.
 
Yi Gang, born in Beijing, was among the first generation of college students getting admitted through national college entrance exam, or gaokao, after it was restarted in 1977 when the Cultural Revolution ended. Many of his peers who sat the exam in the year of 1977, 1978 and 1979 later rose into prominence in varied fields.
 
In 1977, Yi was accepted by the Economics Department of Peking University; in 1980, he gained government scholarship to go abroad and successively enrolled into the Hamline University and University of Illinois where he was granted doctor's degree in economics in 1986.
 
After graduation, Yi became a tenured faculty member and was promoted to vice professor at Indiana University in 1992.
 
However, he decided to go back to China the next year. Between July 1 and 3, 1993, the seminar on the topic of theory and practice of socialist market economy was held in Haikou, South China's Hainan province. Over 130 economics experts and scholars from home and abroad attended the event.
 
The forum had focused on some urgent and complicated problems confronting China's market-oriented reform, including constructing a wholesome and effective macro-control system, and developing a market system.
 
According to Zhang Weiying, a co-founder of the CCER, on July 15, 1993 when the forum wound up, Yi Gang, Lin Yifu and Zhang himself jointly drafted the proposal to set up the CCER. “The basic idea was to build a world-class economic research institute,” the draft stated. 
 
The CCER was renamed as the National School of Development in 2008 and Yi Gang is still listed as the prestigious institution's faculty member.
 
In the 24 years since its founding, several of its founders became luminaries on the international economic scene. In 2008, Lin Yifu was appointed Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank where he served from 2008 to 2012. Lin was the first person from a developing country to take the position in the bank.
 
Yi's political career started as deputy secretary general of a government monetary policy committee in 1997. He was then promoted to the head of the monetary policy department and foreign exchange administration. Before his appointment as governor during the “Two Sessions”, Yi worked under Zhou Xiaochuan as deputy governor of the People's Bank of China for 10 years.
 
“The birth of the institution testifies to a generation of independent thinkers' deep love for their motherland and that they approve the path of market-oriented reform taken by the country,” Yi was quoted as saying in 2014, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the National School of Development.

The article is based on a Thepaper.cn report. 

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