Zhang Zheng (张峥) is a senior colonel in the Chinese navy who previously attended different military academies in the United Kingdom. He has been installed as first commanding officer of China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
Zhang was born in September 1969 to a military family in Changxing, Zhejiang Province. From 1980 to 1986, he attended the local Dinghai Middle School. From 1986 to 1990, he was enrolled in the Department of Automation at Shanghai Jiaotong University. After graduating in August 1990, he served as an assistant engineer in the Chinese navy's East China Sea Fleet Command. From August 1992 to August 1995, he attended the Dalian Naval Academy, majoring in warship combat command and obtaining a Master's degree. From August 1995 to July 2001, he consecutively served as department head, staff officer, vice captain and captain of a naval frigate and destroyer. From July 2001 to August 2003, he sequentially studied at the Defense Language Institute and the Joint Services Command and Staff College of the United Kingdom.
On Sept. 25, 2012, China's first aircraft carrier, also known as hull number 16 or "Liaoning," was delivered and commissioned to the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army during a ceremony held at the naval base in northeast China's Dalian Port. Zhang was appointed to act as the carrier's first commanding officer.
Zhang, also a Party member, is an acclaimed naval commander who has worked his way up the grass-root posts and has over the years accumulated substantial warship command experience. When a CCTV reporter asked him how he felt about being the first commanding officer of China's first aircraft carrier, Zhang replied: "Of course it's quite an honor to me, but also it involves huge responsibilities and challenges."