John L. Thornton China Center

Wang Min 王珉

One of China's Top Future Leaders to Watch

  • Born 1950
  • Liaoning Province party secretary (2009-present)
  • Chairman of the Liaoning Provincial People’s Congress (2010-present)
  • Full member of the CCP Central Committee (2007-present)


Personal and Professional Background

Wang Min was born in 1950 in Huainan City, Anhui Province. Wang joined the CCP in 1985. He was a “sent-down youth” (working as a manual laborer in the countryside) in Sucheng, Anhui (1968-72) and a factory worker (1972-75) during the Cultural Revolution. He received his undergraduate education from the Huainan Coal Mining Institute[1] in Huainan City, Anhui Province (1975-78), taught at the Institute (1978-79), and graduated from a post-graduate program at the Beijing Institute of Astronautics[2] in Beijing Municipality (1979-81). Wang received a doctoral degree in Engineering in Machinery Manufacturing from the Nanjing Aeronautical Institute[3] in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province (1986). He then taught at the Nanjing Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province (1986-87), worked as a visiting scholar at the Hong Kong Polytechnic[4] in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1987-89), and served as vice chairman of the Department of Engineering (1989-90), provost (1990-92), vice president (1992-94), and executive vice president of the Nanjing Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (1994) in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province. He holds the title of professor. Wang was appointed assistant governor of Jiangsu Province (1994-96) and promoted to vice governor of Jiangsu Province (1996-02). Wang concurrently served as party secretary of Suzhou City and as a member of the Standing Committee of the Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee (2002-04). In 2004, Wang was transferred to Jilin Province where he served as deputy party secretary and governor of Jilin Province (2004-06). A full member of the CCP Central Committee since 2007, Wang served as party secretary of Jilin Province (2006-2009) and Provincial People’s Congress chairman of Jilin Province (2008-2009). He has served as party secretary of Liaoning Province since 2009 and has served as Provincial People’s Congress chairman of Liaoning Province since 2010.


Family and Patron-Client Ties

Wang Min’s father, Wang Jitun (now 94 years old), was a medical doctor in the Huainan Miners Hospital in Huainan City, Anhui Province. Although not a CCP member, Wang Jitun served as vice mayor of Huainan City, Anhui Province, in the early and mid-1960s and as vice chairman of the Huainan Municipal People’s Congress in the early 1980s. Wang Min’s twin brother, Wang Li, followed their father’s professional career and became a medical doctor in the same hospital. Wang has four siblings.[5] One younger brother, Wang Wei, received a Ph.D. from Shanghai Medical University in 1987 and pursued his post-doctoral studies at the University of Nebraska in 1988-90 and now is a tenured professor in Cardiovascular Physiology at the same university. Wang Min and his wife have one child, who is now 33 years old. Wang Min’s factional affiliation is unclear. Wang served as party secretary of Suzhou City, Jiangsu, the position that has been known in recent two decades as a stepping-stone for further promotion (examples include former Jiangsu party secretary Liang Baohua, current Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, and current Shenzhen Party Secretary Wang Rong). Suzhou has also been considered part of the greater Shanghai region that has been under strong control by Jiang Zemin; Wang thus may be a protégé of Jiang. It has also been widely speculated that Wang formed a patron-client relationship with Li Yuanchao in 2000-2004, when Li was a top leader in Jiangsu.


Political Prospects and Policy Preferences

Most of the fifth generation leaders obtained their advanced educational degrees (master’s and/or doctoral degrees) in part-time studies, which are often viewed skeptically by the Chinese public. Wang Min, however, is an exception. He obtained both of his master’s and doctoral degrees on a full-time basis at two of the top engineering schools in China, and thus has undisputable academic credentials. Wang also studied at the Hong Kong Polytechnic for two years as a visiting scholar early in his career. His lack of clear factional identity may also help him obtain an important position, such as head of the Organization Department of the CCP Central Committee. His broad provincial leadership experience in Liaoning, Jilin, and Jiangsu has prepared him well for taking the top position in major cities such as Tianjin, Chongqing, or Shanghai. His strong background in science and technology may make him a candidate for one of the senior positions in the State Council (vice premier or state councillor). Wang has a good reputation for promoting private sector development, the reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and foreign trade and investment.


Notes

[1] This was the name prior to 1981; it was then renamed the Huainan Institute of Technology in 1997, and since 2002 it has been called the Anhui University of Science and Technology, in Huainan City, Anhui.

[2] The name prior to 1988; now known as the Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics.

[3] The name prior to 1993; it is now known as Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

[4] The name prior to 1994; it is now known as the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

[5] This discussion is based on Nan Lei 南雷, Jockeying for Power at the 18th Party Congress (逐鹿十八大;Hong Kong: Art & Culture Press, 2010), pp. 516-524; and “From a Son of the Coal Mine in Huainan to Party Secretary of Jilin Province” (从淮南煤矿子弟到吉林省委书记), Huainan Coal Mine Market Net, August 26, 2009. http://www.0554coal.com/DocHtml/2009/7/2/616244281836.html.


Editor's Note: The profile above was prepared by the China Center's Cheng Li and originally appeared in the China Leadership Monitor.