Qian Qichen, native of Jiading, Shanghai, was born in 1928 and joined the CPC in 1942.
He studied at a secondary school attached to Datong University, Shanghai from 1942-45; after 1945, he became a leading member in charge of the Party's underground activities in Shanghai's secondary schools.
After 1949, Qian was a member of several district Party committees and secretary of several district Communist Youth League committees in Shanghai. In 1953, Qian did research work at the General Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League.
In 1954, Qian studied in the Central Communist Youth League School of the formal Soviet Union.
After leaving school in 1955, he worked in the Chinese embassy in Moscow, serving successively as second secretary, deputy section chief in charge of Chinese students studying in the Soviet Union, and director of the Research Office. In 1963, Qian returned home and worked in the Ministry of Higher Education as section chief in charge of Chinese students studying abroad and then deputy director of the Department of External Relations.
In 1972, Qian was a councillor in the Chinese Embassy in Moscow. Later, he became Chinese ambassador to Guinea.
He served as director of Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1977-82, vice-minister of foreign affairs from 1982-88, minister of foreign affairs from 1988-91, State councillor and concurrently minister of foreign affairs from 1991 to 1992.
He has been a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, State councillor and foreign minister, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, vice-premier of the State Council and foreign minister, from 1993 to the present.
He served as alternate member and member of the 12th CPC Central Committee, member of the 13th, 14th and 15th CPC Central Committees and a member of the Political Bureau of the 14th and 15th CPC Central Committees.