Few could doubt that Chongqing party secretary Wang Yang is made for big things. The 52-year-old was a vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission from 1999 to 2003 and was in charge of macroeconomic development at the State Council before he was appointed Chongqing party boss in 2005. A Chongqing-based journalist said Mr Wang's self-confidence and State Council experience set him apart from his predecessors, and most observers believe his next position will be at least a vice-premiership. Mr Wang was very clear from the beginning about his mission in Chongqing. Just days after he arrived in the municipality, he pointed to his policy priorities by visiting people displaced by the massive Three Gorges Dam project. 'He is very smart because Chongqing enjoys its status as a municipality only because of the Three Gorges project and that is what the central government cares most about,' the journalist said. 'He understands the central government policies so well and he made it clear that all Chongqing had to do was to make the most out of its status as a municipality.' Mr Wang demonstrated his skills in crisis management handling a high-profile demolition stand-off - the Chongqing nail house saga. It took political and media skills to help resolve the dispute with the owner of the ramshackle two-storey building, who became a media darling for refusing to make way for a property project. Back in 2004, Mr Wang also successfully diffused a riot in Hanyuan county, Sichuan province , over the building of a dam that would displace more than 10,000 people. Mr Wang, then a vice-secretary general of the State Council, met local cadres to announce the sacking of unpopular local leaders. He also promised villagers that work on the project would not resume until an agreement had been reached on their relocation. His adept handling of the crisis earned the appreciation of the Hu-Wen leadership. Unlike other rising political stars, Mr Wang's formal education was modest - he quit school and worked for a food-processing factory in Anhui province at the age of 17. In 1976, he became a teacher in a May 7th cadre school, a labour camp for the re-education of intellectuals. Three years later, he was sent to study at the Central Party School. He taught at the Suxian county party school in Anhui and was made deputy secretary of the county's youth league committee in 1981. He went on to head the provincial government's sports committee before becoming mayor of Tongling in 1989. By 1998, he was Anhui's deputy party boss. From there he was promoted to the National Development and Reform Commission and the State Council, where he became a trusted aide of Premier Wen Jiabao . In the latter stages of his career, Mr Wang has sought to make up for the gaps in his education through self- study. It is an example he has sought to pass on to others. This year he told all Chongqing officials to read the The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman.