Wang Huning (Chinese: 王沪宁; born October 6, 1955) is a leading Chinese political theorist since the 1990s and one of the top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Since October 2017, he has been a member of the CCP's Politburo Standing Committee (China's top decision-making body) and the first-ranked secretary of the CCP's Secretariat. He also chaired the Central Guidance Commission on Building Spiritual Civilization since November 2017. He previously served as the director of the Central Policy Research Office from 2002 to 2020, the longest tenure of the office.

Wang Huning
Wang Huning in June 2013.jpg
Wang in 2013
First Secretary of the Secretariat of the Chinese Communist Party
Assumed office
25 October 2017
General SecretaryXi Jinping
Preceded byLiu Yunshan
Director of the Central Policy Research Office
In office
October 2002 – October 2020
DeputyHe Yiting
Zheng Xinli
General secretaryJiang Zemin
Hu Jintao
Xi Jinping
Preceded byTeng Wensheng
Succeeded byJiang Jinquan
Chairman of the Central Guidance Commission on Building Spiritual Civilization
Assumed office
November 2017
DeputyHuang Kunming
Preceded byLiu Yunshan
Director of the Office of the Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission
In office
January 2014 – October 2020
DeputyMu Hong
Pan Shengzhou
Chen Yixin
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byJiang Jinquan
Personal details
Born (1955-10-06) 6 October 1955 (age 66)
Shanghai, China
Political partyChinese Communist Party (1984–present)
Alma materFudan University
East China Normal University
Wang Huning
Wang Huning (Chinese characters).svg
"Wang Huning" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese王沪宁
Traditional Chinese王滬寧

Widely regarded as the "Grey Eminence" of the CCP, Wang is believed to be the chief ideologue of the Communist Party and principal architect behind the official political ideologies of three paramount leaders since the 1990s: "Three Represents" by Jiang Zemin, the Scientific Development Concept by Hu Jintao, and the Chinese Dream and Xi Jinping Thought of Xi Jinping.[1] He has held significant influence over policy and decision making over all three paramount leaders, a rare feat in Chinese politics.[2] Wang was regarded, along with Wang Qishan, as one of the two primary advisors and decision makers for Xi Jinping.[3]

A former academic, Wang was a professor of International Politics and dean of the law school at Fudan University.[4]

On June 26, 2010, Chinese leader Hu Jintao talked with U.S. President Barack Obama at the G20 Toronto Summit. Behind them was Wang Huning.

Early lifeEdit

Born in Shanghai,[5] Wang traces his heritage to Ye County, Shandong province. Wang's name, "Huning", literally means "Shanghai and Nanjing". Wang was recommended to enter Shanghai Normal University (Now East China Normal University) in 1974 to study French. In 1977, he became a cadre of Shanghai Publishing Bureau and engaged in research work at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. In 1978, he participated in the National Postgraduate Admission examination, and was directly admitted as a postgraduate student in the Department of International Politics of Fudan University due to his excellent performance. He was trained by Wang Bangzuo, then director of the Political Science Teaching and Research Department of Fudan University, and Chen Qiren, obtaining a LL.M degree in 1981.[4] In April 1984, he joined the CCP.

After graduation, Wang stayed at Fudan University as an instructor, associate professor, and professor (1981–89).[4] He was named associate professor of International Politics at the age 29, becoming the youngest associate professor in China at the time.[6] Wang served as director of Fudan University's Department of International Politics (1989–94), and as dean of the law school (1994–95).[4]

In 1988, Wang was a visiting scholar in the United States for six months, spending the first three months at The University of Iowa, three weeks at the University of California, Berkeley, and visiting many other universities. During his time in the United States, Wang visited over 30 cities and close to 20 universities.[7] This experience led to his 1991 book America Against America.[8] In 2021, the book received renewed interest in the aftermath of the storming of the United States Capitol, with some used copies surging to 16,600 yuan ($2500) on antiques sites.[9]

Wang was already a well-known young scholar in the academic circle since the 1980s. He wrote columns and essays for numerous party-sanctioned publications and was featured on the cover of current affairs magazines such as "Banyuetan"(半月谈), attracting the attention from top political leaders in Shanghai at the time. His achievements led to him participating in the drafting of theoretical documents for the CCP since the 13th CCP National Congress.

In 1993, Wang led the Fudan student debate team to participate in a Chinese-language international college debate competition held in Singapore. The team won the championship between 1988 and 1993, greatly enhancing Wang's reputation.[6]

Political careerEdit

From 1995, Wang was referred to work for the party leadership in Beijing on recommendation from top Shanghai politicians Zeng Qinghong and Wu Bangguo, both of whom maintained close relationships with then-party General Secretary Jiang Zemin.[7] Wang initially headed the political research team at the Central Policy Research Office, and was promoted in April 1998 to deputy director of the Office. He was promoted to director of the Office in 2002.[10][11] Wang was regarded as one of major brain-powers of Jiang Zemin and participated in the drafting of the "Three Represents" ideology, regarded as the main theoretical contribution of Jiang to the party's ideological lexicon.[12][13] He accompanies Jiang in foreign visits since 1998, as a special assistant to the President.[7]

In 2002, he became a member of the Chinese Communist Party's 16th Central Committee.[7]

In November 2007, Wang was admitted to the Secretariat of the Chinese Communist Party. He began accompanying General Secretary Hu Jintao on foreign trips, and played a leading role in drafting the "Scientific Outlook on Development" ideology of Hu Jintao.[13] Wang was considered one of three most influential advisors of Hu Jintao, the other two being Ling Jihua and Chen Shiju.[7]

On May 14 2017, Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Behind them were Wang Huning and Li Zhanshu.

He was elected to the 18th Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2012, becoming the first director of the Policy Research Office to hold a seat on the elite ruling council.[7] Following the ascension of Xi Jinping to the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2012, Wang nurtured a close relationship with Xi, again emerging as one of the central members of Xi's entourage on international trips and seen to be one of Xi's closest advisors.[14][15] He has helped in the construction of the "Chinese Dream"[16] and "Xi Jinping Thought" ideologies.[17]

Having worked closely with three consecutive paramount leaders, Wang demonstrated a rare and remarkable ability to retain influence under leaders belonging to various Communist Party factions.[2] He has been compared to the Mao-era propaganda official Chen Boda and Soviet official Mikhail Suslov.

Wang was a member of 16th, 17th and 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, and is currently a member of the 19th Central Committee.[18]

Wang was chosen to be a member of the 19th Politburo Standing Committee, China's top decision-making body, at the 1st Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on 25 October 2017.[19]

Personal lifeEdit

Wang has been described by former colleagues as an insomniac and workaholic, introverted and discreet.[2] After entering into politics in the 1990s, he cut off most contacts with his academic colleagues.[2]

Having studied French in university, Wang is a fluent French speaker.[4] Wang is also an avid reader of Wuxia novels.[7]


Wang's first marriage, to Zhou Qi, an international relations expert at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, ended in divorce after he went to Zhongnanhai in 1996. They had no children. He later married a nurse in Zhongnanhai. They have one child.[20]

Public perceptionsEdit

Senior CCP officials have privately compared Wang to Chen Boda or Mikhail Suslov, going so far to claim that he and Wang Qishan are Xi's "brain" and "backbone" respectively. Both of them are believed to be hold significant influence over Xi Jinping and are sometimes considered to be the primary decision makers in the Politburo. Unlike Wang Qishan, Wang Huning has traditionally kept an extremely low profile and was largely unknown to the Chinese public outside the party and academic circles, but after his elevation to the Politburo Standing Committee in 2017, he has emerged as a more public figure.[21]

As Xi's top foreign policy aide, he has been described as "China's Kissinger" by South Korean newspaper The Hankyoreh.[22]


Wang authored several books, including The Logic of Politics--The Principles of Marxist Political Science, America against America, General Introduction to New Politics, Analysis of Modern Western Politics, Analysis of Comparative Politics and Debate Contest in Lion City.

  • 1987. National Sovereignty
  • 1987. Analysis of Comparative Politics
  • 1988. Analysis of Contemporary Western Politics
  • 1988. Introduction to Public Administration
  • 1989. Analysis of Administrative Ecology
  • 1989. Collection of Wang Huning
  • 1990. Anti-Corruption: Experiment in China
  • 1990. Corruption and Anti-Corruption: Study of Contemporary Oversees Corruption Problem
  • 1991. Culture of Contemporary Chinese Village Family
  • 1991. America Against America
  • 1993. Debate in Lion Castle
  • 1994. Political Logic
  • 1995. Political Life

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The 'Grey Cardinals' of modern-day Russia and China".
  2. ^ a b c d "The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning". Palladium. 2021-10-11. Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  3. ^ "ALKING WITH CCP OFFICIALS ABOUT THE CURRENT SITUATION-WHAT KIND OF PERSON IS XI?". Australia News. 2017-10-25. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
  4. ^ a b c d e Li, Cheng (2017-10-13). "Wang Huning 王沪宁" (PDF). John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ "Wang Huning - One of China's Top Future Leaders to Watch". Brookings. 2013-05-31. Archived from the original on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  6. ^ a b 大专辩论会与王沪宁. 2014-11-06.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Xiao, Hong (2014-07-01). "王沪宁:从学者走入决策层". 金秋杂志. Retrieved 2021-12-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Yi, Wang (6 November 2017). "Meet the mastermind behind Xi Jinping's power". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 6 November 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  9. ^ "A $2,500 Book on U.S. Decline Is Suddenly a Must-Read in China". Bloomberg News. January 13, 2021. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Biography of Wang Huning". China Vitae. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  11. ^ Page, Jeremy (2013-06-05). "The Wonk With the Ear of Chinese President Xi Jinping". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  12. ^ "The meaning of the man behind China's ideology". The Economist. 2017-11-02. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  13. ^ a b Huang, Yuanxi (11 October 2012). "Wang Huning, often seen at the side of two presidents". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Brains behind the 'China Dream'". The Straits Times. 26 October 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Party theorist behind three Chinese presidents moves to top spot". South China Morning Post. 2017-10-21. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  16. ^ 胡少江评论:从三个代表到中国梦,王沪宁江郎才尽. Radio Free Asia (Cantonese service). 2013-04-26.
  17. ^ Perlez, Jane (2017-11-13). "Behind the Scenes, Communist Strategist Presses China's Rise". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
  18. ^ "Wang Huning -- Member of Standing Committee of Political Bureau of CCP Central Committee - Xinhua |". Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  19. ^ Wen, Philip; Blanchard, Ben (24 October 2017). "China unveils new leadership line-up with no clear successor to Xi". Reuters. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Wang Huning 王沪宁" (PDF). Brookings. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  21. ^ "ALKING WITH CCP OFFICIALS ABOUT THE CURRENT SITUATION-WHAT KIND OF PERSON IS XI?". Australia News. 2017-10-25. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-01-09.
  22. ^ Jakhar, Pratik (2017-10-08). "China party congress: The rising stars of China's Communist Party". BBC News.

External linksEdit