Find a Security Clearance Job!

Military


Senior Leadership

CMC ChairPresidentVice PresidentPremier
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong
01 Oct 1949
27 Sep 1954
none Zhou Enlai
Mao Zedong
27 Sep 1954
27 Apr 1959
Zhu De
Liu Shaoqi
27 Apr 1959
21 Dec 1964
Dong Biwu
Liu Shaoqi
21 Dec 1964
31 Oct 1968
Song Qingling
31 Oct 1968
24 Feb 1972
vacant
Dong Biwu
24 Feb 1972
17 Jan 1975
Post abolished
17 Jan 1975
05 Mar 1978
Post abolished Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng Post abolished
15 Mar 1978
16 May 1981
Post abolished
Song Qingling
16 May 1981
28 May 1981
vacant Zhao Ziyang
Deng Xiaoping post abolished
28 May 1981
18 Jun 1983
post abolished
Li Xiannian
18 Jun 1983
08 Apr 1988
Ulanhu 1988
Yang Shangkun
08 Apr 1988
27 Mar 1993
Wang Zhen Li Peng
Jiang Zemin Rong Yiren
27 Mar 1993
15 Mar 1998
Hu Jintao
15 Mar 1998
23 Mar 2003
Zhu Rongji
Hu Jintao Zeng Qinghong
23 Mar 2003
15 Mar 2008
Wen Jiabao
Xi Jinping
15 Mar 2008
Mar 2013
Xi Jinping Li Yuanchao
Mar 2013
Mar 2018
Li Keqiang

Mar 2018
Mar 2023
..
The loose coalition of the Princeling Party and the Shanghai Clique, draws its strength primarily from the children of revolutionary-era senior CCP officials, and from officials with experience in Chinas coastal provinces. It is based in a patronage network extending from former CCP General Secretary Jiang Zemin. The second group, the China Communist Youth League Faction, [CYL] or Tuanpai, is found among supporters of CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao. Many of these officials have direct experience working in the CCPs nationwide youth organization. They also tend to share experience working in Chinas poorer, inland provinces, as well as experience in Party Affairs work.

Some argued that China's "princelings," the sons and daughters of prominent Communist Party officials, including many who helped found the PRC, shared a perception that they, as the descendents of those who shed blood in the name of the Communist revolution, had a "right" to continue to lead China and protect the fruits of that revolution. Such a mindset could potentially place the "princelings" at odds with Party members who did not have similar pedigrees, such as President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and Party members with a CYL background, who were derisively referred to as "shopkeepers' sons." Some princeling families denounce those without revolutionary pedigrees by saying, "While my father was bleeding and dying for China, your father was selling shoelaces."

The Communist Party of China (CPC) held its 18th National Congress on 08 November 2012. Two factions within the party - the Princeling Faction and the Youth League Faction - were locked in an intense power struggle. At the National Peoples Congress plenary held in March 2008, Xi Jinping was elected Vice President of the government, and Li Keqiang was elected Vice Premier. The Princeling Faction - children of senior party leaders, had the upper hand. Their representative, Xi Jinping, took over the duties of General Secretary of the CPC from Hu Jintao. Li Keqiang, the representative of the Youth League Faction, took over from Wen Jiabao as the Premier of the State Council.

In August 2012 some of Chinas top leaders met at a resort near Beijing, reportedly to finalize their selections for the next generation of national leaders to take power. The decisions made at the secretive talks in Beidaihe were not expected to become public until the Communist Party's 18th National Congress convened in November. Beidaihe was a regular meeting place for senior party officials until Hu Jintao came to power in 2002. This was the first such meeting since then.

After the 17th Party Congress in 2007, an age limit was formally announced to the public for the first time, with state media praising "the rigorous rule of the retirement of members of the Politburo Standing Committee at the age of 68" Due to recently established Party precedents on age, at the 18th Party Congress all Members of the current Politburo Standing Committee except for Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang would be forced to retire. However, the retirees may still maintain significant influence behind the scenes as Party Elders. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao would retire, and Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who were already members of the Standing Committee, were expected to replace them. Party leaders discussed reducing the size of the Standing Committee from nine members to seven, in an effort to consolidate power.

During Chinas 2012 leadership transition, the elitist coalition of the CCP prevailed over the populist coalition in personnel selections to Chinas highest decision-making body, securing six of seven seats on the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC). The elitist coalition, which had been headed by former President Jiang Zemin and is now led by President Xi, mainly consists of the children of Chinese revolutionary leaders and former high-level officials. The populist coalition, which had been headed by Mr. Hu and now is led by current Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, primarily consists of former Chinese Communist Youth League leaders. The concentration of elitists on the PSC probably strengthened President Xis ability to pursue his policy agenda. The balance between the two camps in the 25-member Politburo, the Secretariat (the organization that handles daily administrative affairs), and the CMC have largely remained intact. 6 Furthermore, prominent populist coalition leaders are well-positioned for seats on the next PSC in 2017, as five of the seven current PSC members can serve only one term before reaching mandatory retirement age.

Xi also succeeded Hu as chairman of the party's military commission. Before the Congress one question was whether Hu would keep the CMC job for two more years as his predecessor Jiang Zemin did. The position of supreme commander of China's huge military is considered essential for any CPC leader who wants to control the country. This is evident by the fact that Deng Xiaoping was the de-facto leader of China from 1981 to 1989 while serving as chief of the CPC Military Commission, although he was neither the partys general secretary nor president of the country at the time. China's former President Jiang Zemin followed that precedent, keeping that job for two years and acting as a gray eminence after handing over the partys general secretary position to Hu Jintao in 2002.

The Times of London and some other influential western media enterprises reported that Hu was sure to follow suit by retaining the job for two more years to ensure that he maintains his following and his influence after he steps down as party chief. However, two international news agencies, Reuters and AFP, said Hu was planning to give up all his posts in the party and government in early 2013, when Xi will succeed him as president of the country as long as Hus confidant Li Keqiang, who has been billed as the next premier, is named as vice chairman of the military commission, the news wires said. But there are also reports that Hu, who is seen as not leaving much of a legacy, will be forced to give up all of his posts so that his successor can have a free hand to deal with the country's problems.

It is suggested that as long as the US kept up its attempts to resume its dominance in Asia, Hu will have to leave his successor full power to handle crises such as China's sizzling territorial disputes with neighboring states in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. By not hanging on his job as chief of military commission, Hu may also show that he is different from Jiang, who continued to chair the military commission two years after he relinquished the presidency, much to Hu's displeasure.

Some sources speculate that Xi, who holds Hu in high regard, had heeded the advice of the CPC Party School and asked Hu to remain as the country's supreme military commander. By this line of reasoning, Xi needed Hu to remain as chief of the military commission to deal with the current crises facing the country. The power struggle between the leftists and the rightists within the party intensified since the downfall of former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai. Hu did not hang on, settin a healthy example for power transfer in China and Hu will earn a reputation as a leader who held the country's interests above his own.

China's parliament elected Li Keqiang premier on 14 March 2013 as the country's Communist Party neared the final stages of its once-a-decade transition of power. As expected, the National People's Congress nearly unanimously selected the English-speaking Mr. Li to replace Wen Jiabao. The 57-year-old will be in charge of running China's economy and day-to-day leadership of the government. The parliament, which reflexively endorses the decisions of the Communist Party, named Xi Jinping as president a day earlier, in a formality that completes his rise to China's top leadership position. Since attaining the top spots in the party at a congress in November 2012, the two men have vowed to revamp China's economy, reduce pollution and crack down on widespread corruption. They are expected to serve in their positions for the next 10 years.

Li Yuanchao was elected vice-president of the People's Republic of China at the fourth plenary meeting of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, March 14, 2013. Li Yuanchao, ethnic Han, native of Lianshui, Jiangsu Province, born in November 1950. Joined the CPC in March 1978 and began working in November 1968. With a postgraduate education at the Central Party School, he holds the title of LLD. From 1983-1990 he was a Member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CYLC. He was an Alternate member of the Sixteenth CPC Central Committee, member of the Seventeenth CPC Central Committee and member of its Political Bureau and Secretariat. Member of the Standing Committee of the Seventh CPPCC National Committee, and member of the Eighth and Ninth CPPCC National Committees.

The CCP is very particular about the order of appearance of leaders names in its official reports. Hunan Satellite TVs report on 29 August 2013 on the funeral service of Liu Xiyao, an official well-known for his contribution to the development of Chinas atomic bomb and ICBM. The order of names of the leaders and elders whose wreaths were shown on the screen was: current Politburo Standing Committee members Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejian, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan and Wang Qishan; and elders Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Zhu Rongji, Wei Jianxing, Li Lanqing, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang.

With the power transition underway in China, some analysts saw signs of nationalistic tendencies. And that, they say, could lead to a greater willingness to use force. Another possibility is Beijings hardline policies might be due to the power shift. From this perspective, Once Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and others had secured their position in 2013-2014, they could focus on domestic issues and assume a less hardline position. But by late 2014 there was little evidence to support this optimistic view.




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list