This week on Sinica, we present a deep-dive into the worldview of China’s leading Party theorist, Wáng Hùníng 王沪宁. Wang — the only member of the Politburo Standing Committee who has not run a province or provincial-level municipality — is believed to have been the thinker behind ideas as central (and as ideologically distinct) as Jiāng Zémín’s 江泽民 signature “Three Represents,” which brought capitalists into the Chinese Communist Party; Hú Jǐntāo’s 胡锦涛 “Scientific Outlook on Development” that focused on social harmony; and Xí Jìnpíng’s “Chinese Dream” that aimed at the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” While much of Wang’s life since he entered government has been hidden from view, his earlier writings contain many ideas that appear to have shaped Party policy across the tenure of three Party general secretaries over a period of nearly three decades, and offer clues about what still might be in store. Kaiser is joined by Joseph Fewsmith III, an eminent professor of political science at Boston University; the intellectual historian Timothy Cheek, professor of history at the University of British Columbia, whose work has focused on establishment intellectuals in the PRC; and Matthew Johnson, principal and founder of the China-focused consultancy AltaSilva LLC, who has studied and written about Wang extensively.
4:31 – An outline of Wang Huning's career
8:36 – Wang Huning's personality and temperament
12:28 – Wang speaks
16:45 – Wang as an example of post-charismatic leadership loyalty
24:02 – Wang's America Against America
31:04 – Wang Huning's concepts of cultural security and cultural sovereignty
46:36 – Wang and Document Number Nine
55:39 – Chinese conceptions of democracy
A transcript of this podcast is available on SupChina.com.
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