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CMSI’s Perspectives and Key Takeaways:

  • Admiral Wang Renhua’s promotion is the latest indication of efforts to synchronize grade-andrank promotions at the full admiral/general level (three stars in the PLA).
  • Wang’s role may be best understood as a military loyalty enforcement boss.
  • A key responsibility for Wang may well be to root out and destroy Xi’s enemies within the PLA.
  • A potential component of Wang’s portfolio in the navy realm could be to maintain a tight grip on the wardrooms aboard China’s growing fleet of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).
  • Having Wang serve in the Navy, and currently as head of the CMC’s powerful Politics and Law Commission, helps the PLA shift to a more joint force as part of Xi’s post-2015 reforms.
  • Wang is not originally from the Navy and does not represent the institutional interests of the PLA Navy.
  • It is not uncommon for a PLA Army political officer to switch uniforms to the Navy and retain them from that time forward, as Wang has done.

Publication Date



China Maritime Studies Institute, U.S Naval War College


Newport, Rhode Island


China, PRC, China Maritime Studies Institute, CMSI, People’s Liberation Army, People’s Liberation Army Navy, PLAN, Wang Renhua

CMSI Note #5: Admiral Wang Renhua: Exemplifying Jointness and Oversight for China’s Navy amid Xi’s Grade-and-Rank Reforms