China is ruled by geeks. For the last 30 years, engineers have dominated China’s political system. After revolutionaries such as Deng Xiaoping kicked off its economic reforms, the techies took over and built China into the untested superpower it is today.
In 1987 the Chinese Communist Party first began welcoming engineers into its inner sanctum, the Standing Committee of the Politburo. By 2002, all of the Standing Committee’s nine members were engineers, including President Hu Jintao, a hydrologist, and Premier Wen Jiabao, a geologist. Lower down the food chain, engineers continued their monopoly of power. China’s central banker? A chemical engineer. Its top cop? A petroleum engineer. Last fall when the Standing Committee accepted its first new non-engineer member since 1987 — a lawyer — it was big news.