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The paramount leader (simplified Chinese: 党和国家最高领导人; traditional Chinese: 黨和國家最高領導人; pinyin: Dǎng hé guójiā zuìgāo lǐngdǎorén[citation needed], literally "the highest leader of the party and the state", refers to the political leader of China in modern Chinese political science.

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 leader Deng Xiaoping, who held supreme power in the People's Republic of China roughly from 1978 to 1992 without officially holding the top political offices. The current paramount leader is Xi Jinping. The paramount leader usually holds the following posts[citation needed]:

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The leader of the Party and the highest ranking position (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; pinyin: Zhōngguó gòngchǎndǎng zhōngyāng wěiyuánhuì zǒngshūjì)
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
Commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army (simplified Chinese: 中央军事委员会主席; traditional Chinese: 中央軍事委員會主席; pinyin: Zhōngyāng jūnshì wěiyuánhuì zhǔxí)
President of the People's Republic of China
The head of state - ceremonial figurehead since 1982.[1] (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国主席; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國主席; pinyin: Zhōnghuá rénmín gònghéguó zhǔxí.

History

The term was commonly applied to Mao Zedong[citation needed], who at times ruled with practically absolute power, and Deng Xiaoping, who was the most influential person in the PRC despite not holding the hierarchically most powerful official positions. Following the death of Deng, 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 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.[2] For example, though Jiang Zemin left the Standing Committee in 2002 and resigned all his posts in 2004, members of the Shanghai clique (of which Jiang is a member) retained a majority in the Standing Committee. Leadership transition takes several months. For instance, in the case of Xi Jinping:

In the case of the transition to both Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission was the last office handed over by the previous paramount leader, in order to secure political influence and ensure political continuity. In the case of the Hu to Xi transition, Hu resigned the Party CMC immediately leading to the belief that he will resign the State CMC in March 2013, when his term as President ends.

List of paramount leaders

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To date, "paramount leader" has been applied to six individual Chinese leaders (dates approximate):

Xi JinpingHu JintaoJiang ZeminDeng XiaopingHua GuofengMao Zedong
Generations of leadership

      First administration       Second administration       Third administration       Hu–Wen Administration       Xi–Li Administration

Picture Name Offices held Period Supreme rule Ideology
Mao Zedong portrait.jpg Mao Zedong
毛泽东
(1893–1976)
Beijing At-large (49-76)[Clarification needed]

Mao Zedong signature.svg
Chairman of the CPC Central Politburo 20 March 1943 – 28 September 1956 1 October 1949

9 September 1976
(700126000000000000026 years, 7002344000000000000344 days)
Mao Zedong Thought
Chairman of the CPC Central Secretariat
Chairman of the CPC Central Committee 19 June 1945 – 9 September 1976
Chairman of the PRC Central People's Government 1 October 1949 – 27 September 1954
Chairman of the National Committee 9 October 1949 – 25 December 1954
Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission 8 September 1954 – 9 September 1976
Chairman of the PRC 27 September 1954 – 27 April 1959
Hua Guofeng-1.jpg Hua Guofeng
华国锋
(1921–2008)
Hunan At-large (64–78)
Beijing At-large (78–83)[Clarification needed]

File:Hua Guofeng Signature.svg
Premier of the PRC State Council 4 February 1976 – 10 September 1980 9 September 1976

22 December 1978
(70002000000000000002 years, 7002104000000000000104 days)
Two Whatevers
1st Vice Chairman of the CPC Central Committee 7 April 1976 – 7 October 1976
Chairman of the CPC Central Committee 9 September 1976 – 22 December 1978
Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission 6 October 1976 – 28 June 1981
Deng Xiaoping.jpg Deng Xiaoping
邓小平
(1904–1997)
Beijing At-large (59–64,78–83)

PLA At-large (83–97)[Clarification needed]
File:Deng Xiaoping Sign.png
1st Vice Premier of the PRC State Council 17 January 1975 – 18 June 1983 22 December 1978

12 October 1992
(700113000000000000013 years, 7002295000000000000295 days)
Deng Xiaoping Theory
Chairman of the National Committee 8 March 1978 – 17 June 1983
Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission 28 June 1981 – 9 November 1989
Chairman of the CPC Central Advisory Commission 13 September 1982 – 2 November 1987
Chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission 6 June 1983 – 19 March 1990
Jiang Zemin1.png Jiang Zemin
江泽民
(1926–)
Shanghai At-large (88–08)[Clarification needed]

File:Jiang Zemin Sign.png
General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee 24 June 1989 – 25 November 2002 12 October 1992

19 September 2004
(700111000000000000011 years, 7002343000000000000343 days)
Three Represents
Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission 9 November 1989 – 19 September 2004
Chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission 19 March 1990 – 13 March 2005
President of the PRC 27 March 1993 – 15 March 2003
Hu Jintao (Cropped).png Hu Jintao
胡锦涛
(1942–)
Guizhou At-large (88–93,98–03)
Tibet At-large (93–98,03–08)
Zhejiang At-large (08–present)[Clarification needed]

File:Hu Jintao Sign.svg
General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee 15 November 2002 – 15 November 2012 19 September 2004

15 November 2012
(70008000000000000008 years, 700157000000000000057 days)
Scientific Development Concept
President of the PRC 15 March 2003 – 14 March 2013
Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission 19 September 2004 – 15 November 2012
Chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission 13 March 2005 – 14 March 2013
Xi Jinping Sept. 19, 2012.jpg Xi Jinping
习近平
(1953–)
Fujian At-large (98–03)
Zhejiang At-large (03–08)
Shanghai At-large (08–present)[Clarification needed]

File:Xi Jinping sign.svg
General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee 15 November 2012 – Incumbent 15 November 2012

Incumbent
(70009000000000000009 years, 7002194000000000000194 days)
Chinese Dream
Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission
President of the PRC 14 March 2013 – Incumbent
Chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission

See also

References

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