General Secretary of the Communist Party of China

Last updated on 29 October 2017

The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is head of the Communist Party of China and the highest-ranking official within China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat. The officeholder is usually considered the "paramount leader" of China, a one-party communist state.[1]

According to the Constitution, the General Secretary serves as an ex officio member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body.[2] Since the early 1990s, the holder of the post has been, except for transitional periods, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making the holder the Supreme Military Command of the People's Liberation Army.[a]

The current General Secretary is Xi Jinping, who took office on 15 November 2012 and was re-elected on 25 October 2017.[b]

General Secretary of the
Central Committee of the
Communist Party of China
中国共产党中央委员会总书记
Danghui.svg
Xi jinping Brazil 2013.png
Incumbent
Xi Jinping

since 15 November 2012
Style Comrade (同志)
(Formal)
His Excellency (閣下)
(In international correspondence)
Type Party leader
Status Highest-ranked in China
Member of Central Committee
Politburo Standing Committee
Central Military Commission
National Security Commission
Secretariat
Reports to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
Residence Zhongnanhai
Seat Beijing
Appointer the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
Term length Five Years
(no restriction on re-election)
Constituting instrument Constitution of the Communist Party of China
Precursor Chairman of the Communist Party of China
Inaugural holder Chen Duxiu (1925)
Hu Yaobang (1982)
Formation 1925 – 1943
September 1982
Unofficial names Paramount leader
Website Top Leadership
Zhōnggòng Zhōngyāng Zǒngshūjì
Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng Zhōngyāng Wěiyuánhuì Zǒngshūjì
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
Simplified Chinese 中国共产党中央委员会总书记
Traditional Chinese 中國共產黨中央委員會總書記
Commonly abbreviated as
Simplified Chinese 中共中央总书记
Traditional Chinese 中共中央總書記

Powers and position

Since the abolition of the post of Chairman of the Communist Party of China by the 12th Central Committee in 1982, the General Secretary is the highest-ranking official of the party and heads the Central Secretariat, Political bureau and its Standing Committee.

Since its revival in 1982, the post of General Secretary has been de jure the most important post in the PRC, though it did not become the de facto most important post until Deng Xiaoping's retirement in 1990. As China is a de facto one-party state, the General Secretary holds ultimate power and authority over state and government. However, the men who have held the post have held far less power than Chairman Mao Zedong. Since the mid-1990s, the General Secretary has traditionally also held the post of President of the PRC. While the presidency is nominally a ceremonial post, it is customary for the General Secretary to assume the presidency to confirm his status as de jure head of state.

Since Xi Jinping's ascendance to power, two new bodies of the Communist Party, the National Security Commission and Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms, have been established, ostensibly concentrating political power in the "paramount leader" to a greater degree than anyone since Deng.[4] These bodies were tasked with establishing the general policy direction for national security as well as the agenda for economic reform. Both groups are headed by the General Secretary, that the power of the General Secretary has become more concentrated.

List of chairmen and general secretaries

Chen Duxiu.jpg

Chen Duxiu
(1 July 1921 – 7 August 1927)

Xiang Chongfai.jpg

Xiang Zhongfa
(7 August 1927 – 24 July 1931)

Chin Banxian.jpg

Bo Gu
(24 July 1931 – January 1935)

Zhang Wentian3.jpg

Zhang Wentian
(January 1935 – 20 March 1943)

Mao Tse-tung - panoramio.jpg

Mao Zedong
(19 June 1945 – 9 September 1976)

Hua Guofeng-1.jpg

Hua Guofeng
(7 October 1976 – 28 June 1981)

Hu Yaobang 1953.jpg

Hu Yaobang
(29 June 1981 – 15 January 1987)

Zhao Ziyang-1.jpg

Zhao Ziyang
(15 January 1987 – 23 July 1989)

Jiang Zemin at Hickam Air Base, October 26, 1997, cropped.jpg

Jiang Zemin
(23 July 1989 – 15 November 2002)

Hu Jintao Cannes2011.jpg

Hu Jintao
(15 November 2002 – 15 November 2012)

Xi jinping Brazil 2013.png

Xi Jinping
(15 November 2012 – present)

1.3.2.%E4%B8%AD%E5%85%B1%E5%85%9A%E5%8F%B2.%E9%A6%96%E8%84%91.jpg
Simplified Chinese graphic timeline of Communist Party leadership. The red bar indicates CCP General Secretaries or Chairmen, the yellow indicating the Premiers. The gray bar delineates particular periods of mainland Chinese history from a CCP perspective.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Xi Jinping, 59, was named general secretary of the 82-million-member Communist Party and is set to take over the presidency, a mostly ceremonial post, from Hu Jintao in March.[3]
  2. ^ "Xi's here to stay: China leader tipped to outstay term". Daily Mail. 9 August 2016. "A lot of analysts now see it as a given" that Xi will seek to stay party general secretary, the country's most powerful post, said Christopher K. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and now China specialist at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

References

  1. ^ "China's 'Chairman of Everything': Behind Xi Jinping's Many Titles". The New York Times. 25 October 2017. Mr. Xi’s most important title is general secretary, the most powerful position in the Communist Party. In China’s one-party system, this ranking gives him virtually unchecked authority over the government.
  2. ^ Chapter III Central Organizations of the Party - Article 22
  3. ^ Who’s Who in China’s New Communist Party Leadership Lineup - Bloomberg
  4. ^ "习近平频现身成常态 将回归"领导核心"?". Duowei News. January 7, 2014.
  • China Online Encyclopedia

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