Yang Zhegming in 2005
|State Chairman of Xiaodong|
9th June 1988 – 21st May 2005
|Preceded by||Qian Xingwen|
|Succeeded by||Jiang Zhongyu|
|Member of the State Presidium|
29th March 1984 – 21st May 2005
|Mayor of Rongzhuo|
29th March 1984 – 9th June 1988
|Preceded by||Mao Huaqing|
|Succeeded by||Li Ma|
|Born||April 23, 1939|
|Political party||Constitutional Protection Society|
|Alma mater||University of Rongzhuo|
Yang Zhengming (Xiaodongese: 杨征明; Yáng Zhēngmíng) is a Xiaodongese politician and economist who served as the as State Chairman of Xiaodong from 1988 to 2005, the longest term of any holder of the office. He also served as Mayor of Rongzhuo from 1984 to 1988.
Born in 1939, Yang was a provincial official based in the city of Rongzhuo. Considered to be close to reformists in the regime, following Qian Xingwen's assumption of power he was appointed as the Mayor of Rongzhuo in 1984 who also appointed him as a member of the State Presidium. As Mayor he became associated with policies that oversaw the economic revitalisation of the city with large development projects being sponsored notably the construction of new highways in the city and cooperating with other provincial leaders on the construction of the Rongzhuo-Baiqiao high-speed railway. In 1988 during the Orchid Revolution Yang was criticised for his soft approach to protests within the city, but after supporting the government during Chen Yaoguo's attempted coup was seen as a shrewd operator. When Qian resigned as a result of the revolution Yang was catapulted into the position of State Chairman a compromise choice between other party grandees.
A supporter of economic reform but more cautious of political reform Yang continued the Economic Reorganising Programme started by Premier Liao Chongwu championing liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation. Despite this the economy struggled under his rule remaining mired in a recession and only recovering in 1998. Yang's early years was mainly dominated by the Chanwan War which saw Yang accused of ethnic cleansing and a brutalisation of the Chanwan population. The war also saw a expansion in executive power and consolidation of the government electoral authoritarianism, with civil society being weakened. Over this period Yang clashed with the reformist Premier Li Jingyao who wanted to increase the pace of democratisation and economic reform; Yang dismissed Li in 1993 and appointed conservative Yuan Jiaxiang in his place. Yuan's death in 1994 saw Yang's ally, Mao Zhukang, become premier who steered a middle course between reformism and conservatism with Han Guanzheng replacing him in 1997. In the second part of Yang's rule the economy improved with there being high economic growth thanks to structural reform, although inequalities and environmental damage increased.
Yang's foreign policy saw tensions with Senria reach a highpoint in the early 1990's when Xiaodong performed a sarin gas attack on the Keisi metro in 1990 and Senria planted a bomb at the Legislative Council in 1994 which killed Premier Yuan. This almost led to war between the two nations but was defused successfully by diplomacy, which paved the way for the resumption of the Nuclear Arms Limitation and Non-proliferation Talks in 1999. In 1990 Yang's administration successfully signed the Xiao-Estmerish Jindao Treaty which saw Jindao return to Xiaodongese rule in 1996.
In the latter part of his rule Yang was seen to have poor relations with Han Guanzheng after the latter attempted to weaken Yang's own faction, causing Yang to support the ascent of younger factional members such as Yuan Xiannian and Jiang Zhongyu. In 2005 Yang retired due to persistent health problems but was influential in ensuring Jiang rather then Han became State Chairman. Yang is currently a bored member of the East Sea Media Network and an unofficial adviser to the Xiaodongese government continuing to be seen as an influential factional leader.
The longest serving State Chairman, Yang was at first seen as a caretaker who was able through successful political manoeuvring assert himself as the most powerful man in Xiaodong. Under Yang Xiaodong saw a generally tumultuous period of economic reform, partial democratisation that was subsequently undermined, ethnic tensions that spilled over into armed conflict and rapid social changes. His foreign policy is controversial with many in Xiaodong accusing him of being soft on Senria due to the 1994 bombing, although his recovery of Jindao is generally praised. Yang's personal profile as a competent technocrat and ruthless operator has also been commentated upon.