According to a new report by the Wall Street Journal, Chinese leaders have appointed Pan Gongsheng, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, as the party secretary of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the party’s highest office. Pan Gongsheng joined the PBOC in 2012 and became China’s forex regulator in 2015. The report suggests that Pan will likely be appointed as the bank’s governor after his promotion. Pan stated:
He is responsible for a group called the Internet Financial Risk Improvement Leadership Group, which restricts the use of cryptocurrency and regulates fintech companies in China.
Pan has previously made critical comments about Bitcoin. During an event in 2017, Pan was quoted saying, “If you sit by the riverbank and watch, the body of Bitcoin will float by you one day.” He also spoke in support of China’s decision to restrict Bitcoin trading.
According to the report, Pan received the appointment due to his international background and the expectation that he could establish productive relationships with global central bank governors. Eswar Prasad, the former chief of the International Monetary Fund’s China division and now an economics professor at Cornell University, said:
Pan has the technical competence and skills to guide the PBOC through challenging terrains in providing support for economic growth, promoting market-oriented reforms in the financial sector, and managing risks in the banking system. These challenges, of course, are greatly amplified by the political constraints under which the PBOC operates.
In the report prepared about Pan’s appointment, it was emphasized that it comes at a critical juncture for the Chinese economy, which is grappling with slowing growth, rising debt levels, and an aging population.