Early lifeWu was born in Guizhou, with ancestral roots in Feidong County, Feidong, Anhui. He entered Tsinghua University in 1960, majoring in electron tube engineering at the Department of Radio Electronics, where he graduated in 1967. He subsequently was employed as a worker and technician at Shanghai's No. 3 Electronic Tube Factory, and then deputy chief and chief of the technical section from 1976 to 1978. He would eventually go on to lead the factory as its party secretary. In 1978 he was assigned to become the deputy manager of Shanghai Electronic Elements Company, and between 1979 and 1981 the deputy manager of Shanghai Electron Tube Company. Between 1981 and 1983 he worked as the deputy secretary of Shanghai Meters, Instruments and Telecommunications Bureau.
Political lifeWu's work in electronics companies earned him a tenure in the city's upper echelons of power. He became part of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai party committee in 1983, effectively becoming part of Shanghai's political inner circle, and was put in charge of work related to science and technology. Between 1985 and 1991, Wu was elevated to Deputy secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee, and subsequently as CPC party chief of Shanghai, the city's first-in-charge. As Shanghai's political and economic stature grew due to economic reforms, Wu gained a seat on the Politburo of the Communist Party of China, China's ruling council, in 1992. He was subsequently elevated to Vice-Premier of the State Council in 1995 under Premier Li Peng, where he served in a portfolio dealing with industry and reforming state-owned enterprises, ranking third. He continued as Vice-Premier under Zhu Rongji, and served in the role until the 2003 National People's Congress. At the 16th Party Congress in November 2002, Wu entered the highest power elite in the country, ranking second in the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China. Since 2003, he has served as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, a position which is roughly equivalent to that of a Speaker of a legislative assembly. At the 11th National People's Congress, he was re-elected as Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee on 15 March 2008. In his capacity as NPCSC chair, Wu delivers an annual address each year at the National People's Congress sessions in March. These speeches have always noted that China will not adopt multiparty democracy, separation of powers, or a federal system. During a speech about the Basic Law of Hong Kong in the territory in June 2007, Wu warned that Hong Kong will only have as much authority as granted from Beijing, and that the Special Administrative Region's government is an executive-led model and should not blindly follow Western systems. He also stated that the Central Government supported Hong Kong's development of democracy, so long as it is within the boundaries of the Hong Kong Basic Law. Although the remarks were left open to interpretation, they generated significant controversy in Hong Kong, with pro-democracy politicians calling it a challenge on the autonomy of the territory. On 16 July 2012, Wu attended the launch ceremony of Shenzhou 9.
See also* Shanghai clique