In China, Wang Huning is the man to see

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Pray for Wang Huning.

Wang is almost certainly the most dangerous man in the world that most folks have never heard of. He is member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party but is best understood to be the big thinker in President Xi Jinping’s inner circle. Wang is in charge of writing the future of the People’s Republic of China, and he can likely enforce that vision because of his outsize influence with Xi.

This is a role Wang has played, remarkably, not just for Xi but also for his immediate predecessors. Imagine a Henry Kissinger intellect combined with Margaret Thatcher’s durability. Xi is powerful enough to tolerate very smart people around him. Wang, from all evidence, is the smartest.

In an October profile of Wang for Palladium magazine, a writer identified as N.S. Lyons outlines the career of this powerful intellectual. “N.S. Lyons” is a pen name for a credentialed scholar and Asia hand in an allied capital with deep knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party. I spoke with him this week. He wrote the piece anonymously because he wants to keep his personal views separate from the institution that employs him. But in this case, his particular views ought to be on the desks of every institution tracking the Chinese Communist Party.

The Palladium piece has circulated among national security specialists such as Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) for the same reason that foreign governments study Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan — because key aides matter as much as the president and are often charting courses months and years ahead of events.

Wang, the piece argues, has long been “China’s top ideological theorist, quietly credited as being the ‘ideas man’ behind each of Xi’s signature political concepts, including the ‘China Dream,’ the anti-corruption campaign, the Belt and Road Initiative, a more assertive foreign policy, and even ‘Xi Jinping Thought.’”

Originally Published on December 16, 2021

By Hugh Hewitt

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