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Justin Lin Yifu elected to senior post at top advisory body

MAR . 11 2013

Peking University, Mar. 11, 2013: A leading economist at PKU was elected member of the Standing Committee of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).


Justin Lin Yifu, 61, honorary dean and professor with the PKU National School of Development (NSD), was elected to the post on March 11 at the fourth meeting of the top advisory body's first session.



Professor Justin Lin Yifu


Professor Lin served a 4-year tenure as World Bank chief economist and senior vice president from 2008 to 2012.


Professor Lin’s research area covers agricultural economics, development economics, and economic reforms in China.



Professor Lin on CCTV Dialogue: China's economic outlook


Justin Lin Yifu was once described as a man who “floats to the top of global bank,” when the PKU professor was just appointed chief economist at the World Bank in 2008.


“Economists are rarely known as fine specimens of physical fitness,” read the Observer comment, but Lin arrived at the Chinese mainland “after a dramatic 2,000-meter swim for freedom.”


"You want to make the Chinese prosperous, and most people in China are on the mainland," he was quoted by a 2010 New Yorker profile. "So if I come to the mainland I can make a larger contribution."


The then-26-year-old Lin, who was born and raised in Taiwan, swam to the mainland during his military service. Lin was an Army captain and served on Kinmen Island, just off the mainland. He swam freestyle - without holding any basketball, and floated on the current for nearly three hours, according to the New Yorker. “He changed his name from Lin Zhengyi to Lin Yifu, a Confucian reference that means ‘a persistent man on a long journey’.”


After arriving at the mainland, Lin was rejected by some universities because he was “unidentified,” but PKU smoothed away difficulties and enrolled him into a master's program in economics. With gratitude, Lin came back to teach at PKU when he finished his study in the US as the first Chinese student after the Cultural Revolution to return with an American doctorate in economics.


In 1994, Lin and other five PKU professors founded the China Center for Economic Research (CCER) to attract foreign-educated Chinese economists. The center was founded “at a time when the country was thirsting for knowledge about how to harness its economic potential," and it “became increasingly influential in the shaping of Chinese economic policy,” according to a Finance and Development profile of Lin.


Lin resumed teaching at PKU in 2012 after his World Bank term. Lin was eager to return to China after getting a bird’s-eye view of global development from Washington; His personal and professional love of China would preclude any long-term separation, according to Finance and Development.


Lin believes China has the potential to achieve another 20 years of 8% growth, Xinhua and Beijing Review reported. By that time, “China may contribute to the multi-polar growth world in many other ways in addition to GDP growth and trade.”



The following is a biographical sketch of Justin Lin Yifu: (Source: National School of Development )


Education background
Post-doctoral fellow, Yale University, 1987
Ph.D. in Economics, University of Chicago, 1986
M.B.A., Chengchi University, Taipei, 1978
M.A. in Economics, Peking University, 1982


Work experience
Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, World Bank
Founding Director, China Center for Economic Research (CCER), Peking University
Development Research Center of the State Council


Deputy to the 11th National People’s Congress
Member of 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference
Emeritus dean, National School of Development, Peking University


Written by: Ji Fan

Edited by: Jacques 

Tag: 2013 NPC & CPPCC Sessions