Paramount leader

Paramount leader

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Paramount leader literally "the highest leader of the party (Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

) and the state (People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

)", in modern Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, unofficially refers to the political leader of the People's Republic of China.

Until the mid-1990s, the paramount leader was able to wield power without necessarily holding any official or formally significant governmental position. The most notable example is former Chinese
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 leader Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 who held supreme power in the People's Republic of China roughly from 1978 to 1992 without officially holding the top political offices.

However with the passing of the Long March generation and institutionalization of power within the PRC, political power has become much more associated with the holding of political offices. In particular, since the transfer of power to Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

 and the fourth generation leadership
Generations of Chinese leadership
Because both the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army promote according to seniority, it is possible to discern distinct generations of Chinese leadership...

, the previous generation of Chinese leaders including Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005...

, Li Peng
Li Peng
Li Peng served as the fourth Premier of the People's Republic of China, between 1987 and 1998, and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, from 1998 to 2003. For much of the 1990s Li was ranked second in the Communist Party of China ...

 and Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

 have not played an active role in political decision-making. Recently, the General Secretary
General Secretary
The office of general secretary is staffed by the chief officer of:*The General Secretariat for Macedonia and Thrace, a government agency for the Greek regions of Macedonia and Thrace...

 holds the authority of paramount leader in China and the current Paramount Leader of China is Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

.

At present, the paramount leader usually holds the following posts:
  • General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
    General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
    The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

     (The leader of the Party and holds the highest ranking position)
  • President of the People's Republic of China
    President of the People's Republic of China
    The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

     (The head of state - Powerless figurehead
    Figurehead
    A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and 19th century.-History:Although earlier ships had often had some form of bow ornamentation A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the prow of ships largely made between the 16th and...

     since 1982)
  • Chairman of the Central Military Commission
    Chairman of the Central Military Commission
    The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

     (Commander-in-chief of the armed forces)

History


The term was commonly applied to Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, who at times ruled with practically absolute power, and Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

, who was the most influential person in the PRC despite not holding the most powerful official positions. Following the death of Deng Xiaoping, the term has seldom been used since power is held more-or-less collectively by the members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China
Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China is a committee consisting of the top leadership of the Communist Party of China, whose membership varies between 5 and 9 people. The inner workings of the PSC are not well known, although it is believed that decisions of the PSC are...

 with the General Secretary acting as a first among equals figure and different factions jockeying for influence. Policy decisions are thought to be made via majority vote of Standing Committee members following internal discussions. For example, though Jiang Zemin left the Standing Committee in 2002 and resigned all his posts in 2004, members of the Shanghai clique
Shanghai clique
The Shanghai clique or Shanghai faction is the name given to an informal group of officials in the Communist Party of China, especially those who serve in the central government of the People's Republic of China or the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, who rose to prominence in...

 (of which Jiang is a member) still retain a majority in the Standing Committee.

Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
Su Zhu, better known by the nom de guerre Hua Guofeng , was Mao Zedong's designated successor as the Paramount Leader of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China. Upon Zhou Enlai's death in 1976, he succeeded Zhou as the second Premier of the People's Republic of China...

 is generally not considered in the generational order of paramount leaders, as he was ousted from power by Deng Xiaoping in 1981.

Leadership transition takes several months. For instance, in the case of Hu Jintao:
  • General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
    General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
    The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

     (November 2002)
  • President of the People's Republic of China
    President of the People's Republic of China
    The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

     (March 2003)
  • Chairman of the Central Military Commission
    Chairman of the Central Military Commission
    The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

     (September 2004)


Usually the office as Chairman of the Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission
A Central Military Commission or National Defense Commission is an organisation typical of Communist one-party states, responsible for supervising the nation's armed forces....

 is the last office handed over by the previous paramount leader, in order to secure political influence and ensure political continuity.

List of paramount leaders


To date, "paramount leader" has been applied to five individual Chinese statesmen (dates approximate and open to dispute):
Picture Name Offices Held Period Supreme Rule Ideology Signature
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...


毛泽东
毛澤東
Chairman
Chairman of the Communist Party of China
The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was the head of the Communist Party of China . In 1982, it was succeeded by the General Secretary of the Central Committee.-History and functions:...

 of the CPC
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 Central Politburo
Politburo of the Communist Party of China
The Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China or Political bureau of the CPC Central Committee , formerly as Central Bureau before 1927, is a group of 24 people who oversee the Communist Party of China...

March 20, 1943 - September 28, 1956 October 1, 1949

September 9, 1976
Mao Zedong Thought
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

Chairman
Chairman of the Communist Party of China
The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was the head of the Communist Party of China . In 1982, it was succeeded by the General Secretary of the Central Committee.-History and functions:...

 of the CPC Central Secretariat
Secretariat of the Communist Party of China Central Committee
The Secretariat of the Communist Party of China Central Committee is the permanent bureaucracy of the Communist Party of China and forms a parallel structure to state organizations in the People's Republic of China....

Chairman
Chairman of the Communist Party of China
The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was the head of the Communist Party of China . In 1982, it was succeeded by the General Secretary of the Central Committee.-History and functions:...

 of the CPC Central Committee
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is the highest authority within the Communist Party of China. Its approximately 350 members and alternates are selected once every five years by the National Party Congress....

June 19, 1945 - September 9, 1976
Chairman of the PRC Central People's Government October 1, 1949 - September 27, 1954
Chairman of the CPPCC
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference [], shortened as 人民政协, Rénmín Zhèngxié, i.e. "People's PCC"; or just 政协, Zhèngxié, i.e. "The PCC"), abbreviated CPPCC, is a political advisory body in the People's Republic of China...

 National Committee
October 9, 1949 - December 25, 1954
Chairman
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 of the CPC Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission
A Central Military Commission or National Defense Commission is an organisation typical of Communist one-party states, responsible for supervising the nation's armed forces....

September 8, 1954 - September 9, 1976
Chairman
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

 of the PRC
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

September 27, 1954 - April 27, 1959
Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
Su Zhu, better known by the nom de guerre Hua Guofeng , was Mao Zedong's designated successor as the Paramount Leader of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China. Upon Zhou Enlai's death in 1976, he succeeded Zhou as the second Premier of the People's Republic of China...


华国锋
華國鋒
Premier of the PRC State Council
State Council of the People's Republic of China
The State Council of the People's Republic of China , which is largely synonymous with the Central People's Government after 1954, is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the Premier and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency...

February 4, 1976 - September 1980 September 9, 1976

December 22, 1978
Two Whatevers
Two Whatevers
The Two Whatevers refers to the statement that "We will resolutely uphold whatever policy decisions Chairman Mao made, and unswervingly follow whatever instructions Chairman Mao gave" ....

Chairman
Chairman of the Communist Party of China
The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was the head of the Communist Party of China . In 1982, it was succeeded by the General Secretary of the Central Committee.-History and functions:...

 of the CPC Central Committee
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is the highest authority within the Communist Party of China. Its approximately 350 members and alternates are selected once every five years by the National Party Congress....

September 9, 1976 - December 22, 1978
Chairman
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 of the CPC Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission
A Central Military Commission or National Defense Commission is an organisation typical of Communist one-party states, responsible for supervising the nation's armed forces....

October 6, 1976 - June 28, 1981
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...


邓小平
鄧小平
1st Vice Premier of the PRC State Council
State Council of the People's Republic of China
The State Council of the People's Republic of China , which is largely synonymous with the Central People's Government after 1954, is the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. It is chaired by the Premier and includes the heads of each governmental department and agency...

January 17, 1975 – June 18, 1983 December 22, 1978

October 12, 1992
Deng Xiaoping Theory
Deng Xiaoping Theory
Deng Xiaoping Theory , also known as Dengism, is the series of political and economic ideologies first developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. In theory, it does not reject Marxism or Mao Zedong Thought but instead seeks to adapt them to the existing socio-economic conditions of China.Since the...

Chairman of the CPPCC
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference [], shortened as 人民政协, Rénmín Zhèngxié, i.e. "People's PCC"; or just 政协, Zhèngxié, i.e. "The PCC"), abbreviated CPPCC, is a political advisory body in the People's Republic of China...

 National Committee
March 8, 1978 - June 17, 1983
Chairman
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 of the CPC Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission
A Central Military Commission or National Defense Commission is an organisation typical of Communist one-party states, responsible for supervising the nation's armed forces....

June 28, 1981 - November 9, 1989
Chairman of the Central Advisory Commission
Central Advisory Commission
Central Advisory Commission of People's Republic of China provided "political assistance and consultation" to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China ....

 of the CPC
13 September 1982 - 2 November 1987
Chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission June 6, 1983 - March 19, 1990
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005...


江泽民
江澤民
General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

 of the CPC Central Committee
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is the highest authority within the Communist Party of China. Its approximately 350 members and alternates are selected once every five years by the National Party Congress....

June 24, 1989 – November 25, 2002 October 12, 1992

September 19, 2004
Three Represents
Three Represents
The Three Represents is a socio-political ideology credited to General Secretary Jiang Zemin which became a guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China at its Sixteenth Party Congress in 2002....

Chairman
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 of the CPC Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission
A Central Military Commission or National Defense Commission is an organisation typical of Communist one-party states, responsible for supervising the nation's armed forces....

November 9, 1989 - September 19, 2004
Chairman
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 of the PRC Central Military Commission
March 19, 1990 - March 13, 2005
President
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

 of the PRC
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

March 27, 1993 - March 15, 2003
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...


胡锦涛
胡錦濤
General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

 of the CPC Central Committee
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is the highest authority within the Communist Party of China. Its approximately 350 members and alternates are selected once every five years by the National Party Congress....

November 15, 2002 - Incumbent
Incumbent
The incumbent, in politics, is the existing holder of a political office. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent. For example, in the 2004 United States presidential election, George W...

September 19, 2004

Incumbent
Incumbent
The incumbent, in politics, is the existing holder of a political office. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent. For example, in the 2004 United States presidential election, George W...

Scientific Development Concept
Scientific Development Concept
The scientific development concept, sometimes translated as the scientific development perspective, is the current official guiding socio-economic ideology of the Communist Party of China incorporating sustainable development, social welfare, a humanistic society, increased democracy, and,...

President
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

 of the PRC
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

March 15, 2003 - Incumbent
Incumbent
The incumbent, in politics, is the existing holder of a political office. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent. For example, in the 2004 United States presidential election, George W...

Chairman
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 of the CPC Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission
A Central Military Commission or National Defense Commission is an organisation typical of Communist one-party states, responsible for supervising the nation's armed forces....

September 19, 2004 - Incumbent
Incumbent
The incumbent, in politics, is the existing holder of a political office. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent. For example, in the 2004 United States presidential election, George W...

Chairman
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 of the PRC Central Military Commission
March 13, 2005 - Incumbent
Incumbent
The incumbent, in politics, is the existing holder of a political office. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent. For example, in the 2004 United States presidential election, George W...


See also

  • List of leaders of the Communist Party of China
    • Chairman of the Communist Party of China
      Chairman of the Communist Party of China
      The Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was the head of the Communist Party of China . In 1982, it was succeeded by the General Secretary of the Central Committee.-History and functions:...

    • General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
      General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
      The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

  • Chairman of the Central Military Commission
    Chairman of the Central Military Commission
    The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

  • Political position ranking of PRC
  • List of Chinese leaders
  • Supreme Leader (disambiguation)
    Supreme Leader (disambiguation)
    Supreme Leader can refer to:*Supreme Leader of Iran, the highest-ranking political and religious authority in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran*Supreme Leader, Italy , Benito Mussolini's position of power...

  • Maximum Leader
    Maximum Leader
    The title of "Maximum Leader" has been used by, or to describe, a number of politicians, including, but not limited to:* Fidel Castro...