Seven Most Powerful Politicians You Must Know in China

3 min read.

With the commencement of Two Sessions 2020 from 21 to 27 May, it is a good time to review the most important political leaders in China. For your easy reference, here are seven powerful Chinese politicians you must know.

1. XI JINPING

Age: 67

Appointments:

  • General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
  • President of the People’s Republic of China
  • Chair of the Central Military Commission

What this means:

Often termed as the “Chairman of everything”, he is the most powerful leader in China since Mao Zedong. Following constitutional changes in 2018, he could stay in power indefinitely.

2. LI KEQIANG

Age: 64

Appointments:

  • Premier of the People’s Republic of China
  • Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee
  • Secretary of the Leading Party Members’ Group

What this means:

After Xi, he is the second most powerful politician in China. He is on his second term as Premier, and his term will be up in 2022.

3. LI ZHANSHU

Age: 69

Appointments:

  • Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee
  • 10th Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress

Other information:

Li was born in Hebei and worked from the ground up there for 26 years before moving to Shaanxi, Heilongjiang and Guizhou. In his two year tenure at Guizhou from 2010 – 2012, he was appointed the Party Secretary of Guizhou. He has been a Member of the Politburo since 2012.

4. WANG YANG

Age: 65

Appointments:

  • Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee
  • 9th Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference

Other information:

Wang was born in Anhui and worked from the ground up for 27 years, where he was appointed Deputy Party Secretary and Vice Governor of Anhui. He also served as the Party Secretary of Chongqing and Guangdong, before joining the State Council. He led the first U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue in 2017.  He has been a Member of the Politburo since 2007.

5. WANG HUNING

Age: 64

Appointments:

  • Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee
  • First Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China
  • Director of the Central Policy Research Office
  • Secretary General of Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission
  • Director of the Central Guidance Commission on Building Spiritual Civilization

Other information:

After attaining his Postgraduate Degree in International Politics at Fudan University, Wang stayed on to teach as a Professor. He was appointed Dean of Fudan’s Law School in 1994 and one year later, he left for Zhongnanhai, which is the central headquarters for the Communist Party and the State Council of China. With his stellar track record of serving three generations of leaders (Jiang, Hu and Xi), he is also known as the “Zhongnanhai Think Tank”.

6. ZHAO LEJI

Age: 63

Appointments:

  • Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee
  • Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection

Other information:

Zhao worked in Qinghai for more than 30 years. He was appointed Governor of Qinghai in 2000 and was one of youngest governors in China at that time. He did one more stint as Party Secretary of Shaanxi before entering Zhongnanhai. He has been a Member of the Politburo since 2012.

7. HAN ZHENG

Age: 66

Appointments:

  • Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee
  • Vice Premiers of the People’s Republic of China
  • Deputy Secretary of the Leading Party Members’ Group

Other information:

Han spent most of his career in Shanghai.  He was 48 when first appointed Mayor of Shanghai in 2003, the youngest mayor at that time. He has been a Member of the Politburo since 2012.