China's Top Three Women Diplomats

March 19, 2012
Editor: Yang Qian

As China develops into a true world power, the number of female ambassadors and spokeswomen in the country has been growing. However, there are few female diplomats who can truly represent China on the world stage with ease and skill. Of them, Wang Hairong, Wu Yi and Fu Ying are exemplary embodiments of female diplomatic power in China's history of foreign relations. They each represent a different stage in Chinese diplomacy.

Wang Hairong:  China's First Female Vice Foreign Minister

 

Wang Hairong was the first female vice-foreign minister in the history of the People's Republic of China. [cpc.people.com.cn]

Wang Hairong was the first female vice-foreign minister in the history of the People's Republic of China. [cpc.people.com.cn]


Appointed in 1974, Wang Hairong was the first female vice-foreign minister in the history of the People's Republic of China as well as its youngest.

Born in Changsha in central China's Hunan Province, Wang graduated from the Russian Department of the Beijing Normal Institute in 1964 and then entered the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute to pursue further studies in English.

During her university years, she was an astute student of languages including Russian, English, French and German. Her firm grasp of foreign languages opened the doors of the diplomatic community to her.

In November 1965, she joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, embarking on her transformation from fresh-faced graduate to experienced diplomat.

From July 1971 to May 1972, she served as deputy director general of the Protocol Department. From May 1972 to July 1974, she was assistant foreign minister in charge of protocol. Finally, in 1974, she was appointed vice-foreign minister, serving her duty at the post until 1978. After April 1984, she served as deputy chief of the Counselor's Office of the State Council.

From 1972 to 1978, Wang earned her position on the stage of China's diplomatic history. She participated in the reception of Henry Kissinger during his secret visit to China and in the reception of Richard Nixon in his subsequent China tour. She had a hand in almost all of the diplomatic activities that took place during Chairman Mao Zedong's later years.

Wang's single-minded pursuit of her diplomatic career success captured the imagination of the public and was not without controversy.

"She is an embodiment of that particular period of China's past," said Zhang Lizhi, deputy-director of the Government Counselor Office in east China's Anhui Province.

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