Wu Shengli

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Wu Shengli
吴胜利
Wu Shengli.jpg
Admiral Wu Shengli in 2009
7th Commander of the PLA Navy
Assumed office
August 2006
Political Commissar Liu Xiaojiang
Miao Hua
Preceded by Zhang Dingfa
Commander of the South Sea Fleet
In office
January 2002 – July 2004
Preceded by Wang Yongguo
Succeeded by Gu Wengen
President of Dalian Naval Academy
In office
1994–1997
Preceded by Chen Qingji
Succeeded by Zhang Zhannan
Personal details
Born August 1945 (age 70)
Wuqiao, Hebei, China
Alma mater PLA Surveying and Mapping Academy
Dalian Naval Academy
Military service
Allegiance  China
Service/branch Naval Ensign of the People's Republic of China.svg People's Liberation Army Navy
Years of service 1964–present
Rank PLAGeneral r.svg.png Admiral
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wu.
Wu Shengli
Traditional Chinese 吳勝利
Simplified Chinese 吴胜利

Wu Shengli (Chinese: 吴胜利; born August 1945) is a Chinese admiral who has served as Commander of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) since 2006. He formerly served as PLA's Deputy Chief of Staff, Commander of the South Sea Fleet, and President of Dalian Naval Academy.

Wu has presided over the PLAN during a time of expanding Chinese maritime interests and increased regional tensions. The PLAN has grown from a coastal defense force to an emerging expeditionary force. His tenure has been marked by a litany of achievements and historic firsts, including the PLAN's first deployment of a counter-piracy task force to the Gulf of Aden in 2008, the first evacuation of foreign nationals from a distant country during the 2011 Libyan Civil War, and the commissioning of China's first aircraft carrier in 2012.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Wu Shengli was born in Wuqiao, Hebei Province in August 1945.[2][3] He is the son of Wu Xian (吴宪), who was a Red Army political commissar during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. The elder Wu later held important political positions during the Mao years, including mayor of Hangzhou and vice governor of Zhejiang Province. Due to his parentage, Wu Shengli is considered a "princeling" in Chinese political parlance.[1][4]

Wu enlisted in the PLA Navy in August 1964, and joined the Communist Party of China at the same time.[2] He earned a degree in oceanography from the PLA Surveying and Mapping Academy in 1966, just before the Cultural Revolution swept China and largely shut down the country’s higher education system. He did not attend naval officer training courses until 1972, when he began the captain's course at the Dalian Naval Academy.[1]

Early career[edit]

In the 1970s and 1980s, Wu gained experience as the captain of navy frigates and destroyers. From 1984 to 1992, he served as the deputy chief of staff of the Shanghai Naval Base, a major support base for the East Sea Fleet, strategically located at the mouth of the Yangtze and close to China's largest city. Jiang Zemin, future president of China, was serving as Shanghai Party secretary during this time, leading some PLA-watchers to speculate that Wu may have cultivated ties with Jiang.[1]

In 1992, Wu became chief of staff of the Fujian Support Base in the East Sea Fleet. In 1994, at age 49, he was appointed commandant of the Dalian Naval Academy, his alma mater and the PLA Navy's highest educational institution for surface vessel officers. He was also promoted to rear admiral. Wu rejoined the East Sea Fleet as a deputy commander in 1998.[1]

In 2002, he was appointed commander of the South Sea Fleet. He was promoted to vice admiral a year later. In 2004, he moved to Beijing after being promoted to deputy chief of the PLA General Staff Department, a Grade 3 (military-region leader grade) position that made him the second-highest-ranking operational officer in the PLA Navy.[1]

Command of the PLA Navy[edit]

Wu Shengli was appointed Commander of the PLA Navy in August 2006, when a terminal illness forced his predecessor, Admiral Zhang Dingfa, to step down. Zhang died in December.[4] Vice Admiral Ding Yiping, who was six years younger than Wu but became an alternate CPC Central Committee member five years earlier, had been groomed to be the candidate for Navy Commander.[5] However, Ding was penalized following an April 2003 accident with the Ming-class submarine 361, which killed its entire crew of 70 people. In the accident's aftermath, Ding was demoted by one grade, removing him from contention.[5] Wu was promoted to the rank of admiral in June 2007.[2]

Wu has presided over the PLA Navy during a time of expanding Chinese maritime interests, increasing regional tensions, and diversifying missions for the navy. The service has grown from a narrowly focused coastal defense force to an emerging expeditionary force. His tenure has been marked by a litany of achievements and historic firsts. These include the PLA Navy's first deployment of a counter-piracy task force to the Gulf of Aden in 2008, the successful preparation and execution of the 60th Anniversary Fleet Review in 2009, the first evacuation of foreign nationals from a distant country during the 2011 Libyan Civil War, and the commissioning of Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier, in 2012.[1]

Central Military Commission and Central Committee[edit]

Wu became a member of the 17th CPC Central Committee in 2007 and of the Central Military Commission (CMC) in March 2008.[3][2] In the run up to the 18th Communist Party Congress in November 2012, some PLA-watchers expected that Wu would be named vice chairman of the CMC or defense minister. However, after the Party Congress, he remained PLA Navy commander. He was reelected a member of the 18th Central Committee (2012–2017).[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Becker, Jeffrey; Liebenberg, David; Mackenzie, Peter (December 2013). "Behind the Periscope: Leadership in China's Navy". Defense Technical Information Center. p. 135. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Wu Shengli" (in Chinese). National Chengchi University. 2015-06-05. 
  3. ^ a b "Biography of Wu Shengli". China Vitae. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Zhiyue Bo (2014). China's Elite Politics: Governance and Democratization. World Scientific. p. 43. ISBN 978-981-283-673-1. 
  5. ^ a b You Ji (2012). "Meeting the Challenge of the Upcoming PLAAF Leadership Reshuffle". The Chinese Air Force: Evolving Concepts, Roles, and Capabilities (PDF). National Defense University Press. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-16-091386-0. 

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