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People's Liberation Army General Political Department (Chinese: 中国人民解放军总政治部) is the chief political organ under the Central Military Commission of Communist Party of China. It leads all political activities in the People's Liberation Army.

Its former director-generals include Liu Shaoqi, Luo Ronghuan, Tan Zheng, Xiao Hua, Li Desheng, Zhang Chunqiao, Wei Guoqing, Yang Baibing, Yu Yongbo, Xu Caihou. Its current head is Li Jinai.

During the Cultural Revolution

The General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army played an important role for Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution, through its control of "political departments" that were set up throughout the state apparatus.[1]

In the summer of 1964 before the Cultural Revolution, organizations called "political departments" were set up in throughout branches of the administration in China, in central and regional levels. Members were to study the works of Mao Zedong and emulate the army. These organizations were headed by the General Political Department, the organ by which Mao Zedong and Lin Biao exercised control over the armed forces. This made the economic "political department" also under command of the armed forces, rather than the Party's Central Committee. This effectively created a "parallel chain of command" which bypassed the Party. The role of the GDP during the Cultural Revolution meant that when the Party lines of command failed amidst chaos, alternative chains of command would be implemented. By 1966, before the Cultural Revolution began, this system was effective.[2]


The Director of the General Political Department has been Li Jinai since September 2004. There are five deputy directors: Jia Ting’an (since January 2008), Liu Xiaojiang (since September 2007), Liu Yongzhi (December 2004), Liu Zhenqi (December 2005), Sun Zhongton (July 2004), and there are two assistant directors: Du Jincai (since June 2007) and Tong Shiping (December 2005). The Secretary General of the General Political Department's General Office is Zhang Gongxian (since July 2009). The department also has a series of departments under it: the Discipline Inspection Department, the Foreign Affairs Bureau General Office, the Justice Bureau General Office, Mass Work Bureau General Office, Cadre Department, Culture Department, Directly Subordinated Organs Work Department, Liaison Department, Organization Department, Propaganda Department, Security Department. The Department also oversees the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, Liberation Army Daily (JieFangJun RiBao), the PLA Literature and Art Press (Kunlun Press), PLA Pictorial, and PLA Press.


  1. MacFarquhar, Roderick (1991). The Cambridge History of China. The People's Republic. 15, (Part 2 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 117–120. ISBN 0521243378. 
  2. Schurmann, Franz (1973). Ideology and Organization in Communist China (2 ed.). California: University of California Press. pp. 117–120. 

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