Wang Qishan

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Wang Qishan
Wang Qishan in 2016.jpg
Wang Qishan in 2016
10th Vice President of the People's Republic of China
Assumed office
17 March 2018
PresidentXi Jinping
Preceded byLi Yuanchao
Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
In office
15 November 2012 – 25 October 2017
DeputyZhao Hongzhu; others
Preceded byHe Guoqiang
Succeeded byZhao Leji
Leader of the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work
In office
15 November 2012 – 25 October 2017
DeputyZhao Leji
Zhao Hongzhu
Preceded byHe Guoqiang
Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
In office
15 March 2008 – 14 March 2013
PremierWen Jiabao
PortfolioFinance, Commerce, others
Personal details
Born (1948-07-19) 19 July 1948 (age 72)
Qingdao, Shandong, Republic of China
Political partyCommunist Party of China (1973-present)
Alma materNorthwest University
Wang Qishan
Wang Qishan (Chinese characters).svg
"Wang Qishan" in Chinese characters

Wang Qishan (/wɑːŋ ˈʃɑːn/;[1] Chinese: 王岐山; born 19 July 1948) is a Chinese politician, and the current Vice President of the People's Republic of China.[2] Wang is one of the leading figures behind China's foreign affairs, along with Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. Between 2012 and 2017, Wang had served as the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party's anti-corruption body, and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's highest decision making body. He was instrumental in carrying out General Secretary Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign since 2013.[3][4]

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. Currently Wang is considered to be among Xi Jinping's closest political allies.[citation needed]

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, where he met and befriended Xi Jinping.[5] In 1973, Wang was admitted as a "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.[6]

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" in Premier Zhu Rongji's cabinet. 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 city 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.

George Osborne with Wang Qishan outside the Institute of Directors in London, 8 September 2011

Wang was named as one of the most influential people in the world in the 2009 Time 100 list.[9]

Politburo Standing Committee and anti-corruption[edit]

Wang Qishan and former State Councilor Dai Bingguo holding a basketball in the Oval Office with U.S. President Barack Obama (2009)

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 a 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 General Secretary of the Communist Party of China 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. The decision to hand Wang the disciplinary portfolio seemed to have come as a surprise even to Wang himself: in video footage of a leaked CCDI conference after taking the helm of the body, Wang said of the decision, "you can go look at media reports before the 18th Congress, who knew Wang Qishan was going to become secretary of the CCDI?... That's how things work. You do what the party tells you to do."[10]

Wang's assuming the leading anti-corruption post was believed to be at least partly owing to his relationship with Xi Jinping. 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.[11]

Wang Qishan meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Acting U. S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on December 19, 2012

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 Party General Secretary (paramount leader).[12]

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 document aimed at institutionalizing the party's ability to discipline its members and reduce corruption.[11] Additionally, Wang introduced for the first time a set of disciplinary procedures for party disciplinary officials themselves.[11] 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 68 at a time of the Congress, he must step down, but if he is 67, he can continue to hold a seat). If Wang were to continue his term past 2017, he would break this convention. Wang himself was reluctant 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."[11]

China watchers expect Wang to hold another high position during Xi Jinping's second term of Party General Secretary, owing to the fact that his name was not mentioned among those senior party leaders slated for retirement (老同志).[13][14] Wang has also accompanied Xi on private meetings with the US ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, in recent weeks.[15] In 17 March 2018, he became the Vice President of China.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Wang is married to Yao Mingshan, daughter of former first Vice Premier of China Yao Yilin; Wang does not have children.[17] He is sometimes considered a "princeling" through his marriage.[18]

Yao Mingshan's sister is Yao Mingduan, the husband of Yao Mingduan is Meng Xuenong. Meng Xuenong is the former Mayor of Beijing, former Governor of Shanxi, and former member of the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

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."[9]

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."[19]


  1. ^ "How to Say: Chinese leaders' names". Magazine Monitor. BBC. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  2. ^ "NPC 2018: Wang Qishan, Xi Jinping's trusted 'firefighter' lieutenant becomes China's vice-president". The Straits Times. 2018-03-17. Mr Wang cast his ballot on Saturday immediately after Mr Han Zheng, the seventh-ranked and most junior Standing Committee member, drawing enthusiastic applause from the other delegates.
  3. ^ Zheng Xinyi (2018). 《致敬王岐山:他留下“不敢腐”的震慑》. 《东西南北》 [Dong Xi Nan Bei] (in Chinese). 502. Changchun, Jilin: Dong Nan Xi Bei Agency. pp. 12–15. ISSN 1000-7296.
  4. ^ Zhu Jingsheng (2018). 《永远的王岐山》. 《广角镜》 [Wind Angle] (in Chinese). 542. Hong Kong: Sun Seven Stars. p. 28. ISSN 1609-2589.
  5. ^ "Only Wang Qishan knew what Xi Jinping was going to do". Asia Nikkei. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  6. ^ Sun, Lei (孙雷). 解读王岐山从知青到国务院副总理之路. (in Chinese).
  7. ^ 王岐山任副总理 金融实战经验受瞩目. March 18, 2008.
  8. ^ 真诚沟通是一种感人力量. March 3, 2005.
  9. ^ a b "Wang Qishan" by Hank Paulson
  10. ^ 王岐山内部讲话又流出 频提习近平毛泽东. Duowei. April 7, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d 北京观察:习近平为谁打破"七上八下"?. Duowei News. October 29, 2015.
  12. ^ China’s second most powerful leader is admired and feared, The Economist
  13. ^ 中央领导同志看望老同志-新华网. Retrieved 2018-02-15.
  14. ^ 吳梓楓. 中央領導探望「老同志」 王岐山未列名單 去向再添有力證據. (in Chinese). Retrieved 2018-02-15.
  15. ^ "US trade move against China snared in legal concerns". Financial Times. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  16. ^ "Xi Jinping gets second term, with ally Wang Qishan as vice-president". South China Morning Post. 2018-03-17. Retrieved 2019-10-26.
  17. ^ "Profiles: China's new leaders". BBC News. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  18. ^ Allen T. Cheng and Li Yanping (3 February 2008). "China May Tap `Princeling' Wang for Top Economic Policy Post". Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  19. ^ 王岐山:我也看韩剧. 2014-03-05.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Bai Keming
Communist Party Secretary of Hainan
Succeeded by
Wang Xiaofeng
Preceded by
He Guoqiang
Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
Succeeded by
Zhao Leji
Assembly seats
Preceded by
Bai Keming
Chairman of Hainan People's Congress
Succeeded by
Wang Xiaofeng
Government offices
Preceded by
Meng Xuenong
Mayor of Beijing
Succeeded by
Guo Jinlong
Preceded by
Li Yuanchao
Vice President of the People's Republic of China
Succeeded by