Wang Qishan

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wang.
Wang Qishan
Wang Qishan (cropped).jpg
Wang Qishan (2011)
Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
Assumed office
15 November 2012
Deputy Zhao Hongzhu; others
Preceded by He Guoqiang
Leader of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work
Assumed office
15 November 2012
Deputy Zhao Leji
Zhao Hongzhu
Preceded by He Guoqiang
Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
In office
15 March 2008 – 14 March 2013
Serving with Li Keqiang
Hui Liangyu, Zhang Dejiang
Premier Wen Jiabao
Portfolio Finance, Commerce, others
Personal details
Born (1948-07-01) July 1, 1948 (age 67)
Qingdao, Shandong
Nationality Chinese
Political party Communist Party of China
Alma mater Northwest University

Wang Qishan (Chinese: 王岐山; pinyin: Wáng Qíshān; born 1 July 1948) is a senior leader of the Communist Party of China. Since 2012 he has been a member of the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, China's highest decision making body. He concurrently serves as Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and has emerged as the public face of General Secretary Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign since 2013.

Wang gained prominence in China's financial sector in the late 1980s. In 1994, Wang became the Governor of the China Construction Bank. Wang then successively served in three regional roles: Vice-Governor of Guangdong, Party Secretary of Hainan, and Mayor of Beijing. Wang then served as Vice-Premier in charge of finance and commercial affairs under premier Wen Jiabao from March 2008 to March 2013, during which he also gained a seat on the party's Politburo.

Early life[edit]

Wang Qishan was born in Qingdao, Shandong, but his ancestral hometown is considered Tianzhen, Shanxi. After graduating high school, Wang worked as a "sent-down youth" in the countryside, performing manual labour with peasants on a commune in the revolutionary heartland of Yan'an. In 1973, Wang was admitted as a gongnongbing (worker-peasant-soldier) student at Northwest University in Xi'an, where he studied history and graduated in 1976. Wang met Yao Mingshan (姚明珊), the daughter of Yao Yilin, in Yan'an and the two later wed. After graduation, Wang worked in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, researching late imperial Chinese history (1800s onwards) and Republican era (1912 - 1949) history. In 1982, Yao Yilin became an alternate member of the Central Secretariat, and Wang was elevated to the Secretariat's office on rural policy research. This marked the beginning of Wang's political career.[1]

Career in Finance[edit]

From 1982 to 1988, Wang worked in various posts in policy research. In 1988, Wang was transferred to become the chief executive of the Agricultural Investment Trust of China. A year later he became Vice Governor at China Construction Bank. Wang became Governor of the China Construction Bank in 1994 and served until 1997. During this time, Wang facilitated cooperation with U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley, and was instrumental in the founding of China's first investment bank, the China International Capital Corp (CICC), and served as its first executive Chairman.

In 1997, Wang was transferred to Guangdong to become its Executive Vice Governor, one of the highest posts in the provincial government. At the height of the Asian Financial Crisis, Wang assisted then Guangdong Party Secretary Li Changchun in managing non-performing loans of various state owned enterprises in the province. Since then, Wang developed a reputation for being a "financial specialist". Next, Wang served as the General Office chief of the State Economic Structural Reform Commission (国家经济体制改革委员会).

Mayor of Beijing and Vice-Premiership[edit]

Wang took over from disgraced Beijing mayor Meng Xuenong when SARS struck the Chinese capital in spring 2003, at which time he had only served as the Party Secretary in Hainan for five months. After arriving in Beijing, Wang took an open approach to the release of information about SARS to the public. In contrast to the lack of transparency during the administration of his predecessor, Wang called for a daily press release on the latest information about SARS.[2]

Wang was confirmed as Mayor of Beijing in early 2004. As mayor, Wang also served as the executive chair of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG). In March 2005, during a local radio show, Wang apologized on air to the Beijing public for an ongoing natural gas supply shortage in the city. The action won praise in the media and was said to have decreased the perceived distance between government officials and the public.[3] Wang was known to be frank and responsible.

In 2007, he became a member of the 17th Central Committee and the 17th Politburo of the Communist Party of China; in 2008, he was named a Vice Premier of the State Council, in charge of finance and commerce. In 2009, Wang was appointed by President Hu Jintao as his special representative to chair the Economic Track of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue for the Chinese side.

Wang was named as one of the most influential people in the world in the 2009 Time 100 list.[4]

Politburo Standing Committee and Anti-corruption[edit]

In the lead-up to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, Wang was seen by observers as a rising political star, with an diverse political pedigree spanning the realms of high finance, regional government, and policy development and execution. Wang ultimately entered the ranks of the Politburo Standing Committee, considered the pinnacle of power in China, at the 18th Party Congress, taking on the job of the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's top anti-graft body. Xi Jinping became party leader at the same Congress. The appointment was unexpected given Wang's experience in the economic realm; he was seen as a more likely candidate for executive Vice-Premier. Wang was friends with Xi beginning in their youth, they shared a bunk when they were both performing manual labour in Shaanxi province during the Cultural Revolution, and Wang lent Xi books related to economics; Wang also had dealings with Xi during the latter's time as a regional official in Fujian.[5]

Beginning in late 2012, Wang emerged as the public face of Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign, the most far-reaching campaign of its sort since the founding of the Communist-ruled state in 1949. He also became the Leader of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work, responsible for dispatching teams to the provinces and state-owned enterprises with the goal of rooting out corruption. Following the 18th Party Congress, Wang was often considered the second most powerful man in China, second only to Xi, the paramount leader.[6]

Wang became a favourite of the media. In October 2015, the CCDI under Wang's leadership released a new and complete set of regulations on party disciplinary procedures and rules on party member conduct, a magnum opus aimed at institutionalizing the party's ability to discipline its members and reduce corruption.[5] Additionally, Wang introduced for the first time a set of disciplinary procedures for party disciplinary officials themselves.[5] Wang's anti-corruption work gained him accolades within the party leadership, with many calling for an extension of his term at the 19th Party Congress in 2017. Since the 16th Party Congress, the rule of "seven-up, eight-down" had been informally applied for every Politburo Standing Committee member (i.e, if a Standing Committee member is 67 at a time of the Congress, he must step down, but if he is 68, he can continue to hold a seat). If Wang were to continue his term past 2017, he would break this convention. Wang himself was reticent to this possibility. During a press conference, Wang stated, "if I were a department-level chief, I would be long retired. Even if I were a deputy minister or a minister, I would be retired by now."[5]

Personal life[edit]

Wang is married to Yao Mingshan, daughter of former vice-premier Yao Yilin; Wang does not have children.[7] He is sometimes considered a "princeling" through his marriage.[8]

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson said that Wang is "decisive and inquisitive" and "an avid historian, enjoys philosophical debates and has a wicked sense of humor." Paulson writes, "He is a Chinese patriot, but he understands the U.S. and knows that each of our two countries benefits from the other's economic success. And he is bold — he takes on challenges, does things that have never been done before and succeeds. Wang managed the largest bankruptcy restructuring in China's history in 1998 and thereby prevented a banking crisis that could have crippled the country's growth."[4]

Wang is a fan of the American television show House of Cards, and frequently alluded to the show during anti-corruption conferences; Wang said he was especially fascinated by the role of the party whip. He also said he watched some Korean dramas. Wang said, "Korea dramas are ahead of us, yet the core and soul of Korean dramas [represents] an advancement from [art forms seen] in traditional Chinese culture."[9]


  1. ^ 解读王岐山从知青到国务院副总理之路 原载《21世纪经济报道》 作者孙雷
  2. ^ "王岐山任副总理 金融实战经验受瞩目". March 18, 2008. 
  3. ^ "真诚沟通是一种感人力量". March 3, 2005. 
  4. ^ a b "Wang Qishan" by Hank Paulson
  5. ^ a b c d "北京观察:习近平为谁打破“七上八下”?". Duowei News. October 29, 2015. 
  6. ^ China’s second most powerful leader is admired and feared, The Economist
  7. ^ "Profiles: China's new leaders". BBC News. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Allen T. Cheng and Li Yanping (3 February 2008). "China May Tap `Princeling' Wang for Top Economic Policy Post". Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "王岐山:我也看韩剧". March 5, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Bai Keming
Communist Party Secretary of Hainan
2002 – 2003
Succeeded by
Wang Xiaofeng
Preceded by
He Guoqiang
Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
2012 –
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Bai Keming
Chairman of Hainan People's Congress
Succeeded by
Wang Xiaofeng
Preceded by
Meng Xuenong
Mayor of Beijing
2003 – 2007
Succeeded by
Guo Jinlong