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He was born in Jiading, Shanghai and joined the Communist Party of China in 1942. After leaving school in 1955, he served as a diplomat in Moscow and other places. He served for a while as ambassador to Guinea. He went to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1977 and was vice-minister of foreign affairs from 1982–1988 and minister from 1988–1998. He has been Vice Premier of the State Council since 1993.
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