General Secretary of the Communist Party of China

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General Secretary of the
Central Committee of the
Communist Party of China
Xi Jinping October 2013 (cropped).jpg
Xi Jinping

since 15 November 2012
Style Comrade
Type Party leader
Status ranked #1
Residence Zhongnanhai
Appointer the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
Term length Five Years
Precursor Chairman of the Communist Party of China
Inaugural holder Chen Duxiu (1925)
Hu Yaobang (1982)
Formation 1925–1943
September 1982
Unofficial names Paramount leader
Website Top Leadership
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
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
Commonly abbreviated as
Simplified Chinese 中共中央总书记
Traditional Chinese 中共中央總書記
National Emblem of the People's Republic of China.svg
This article is part of a series on the
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The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is head of the Communist Party of China and the highest-ranking official within China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat. The officeholder is usually considered the paramount leader of China.

According to the Constitution, the General Secretary serves as an ex officio member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body.[1] Since the early 1990s, the holder of the post has been, except for transitional periods, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making the holder the Commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army.[lower-alpha 1]

The current General Secretary is Xi Jinping, who took office on 15 November 2012.

Powers and position

Since the abolition of the post of Chairman of the Communist Party of China in 12th Central Committee in 1982, the General Secretary is the highest-ranking official of the party and heads the Central Secretariat, Political bureau and its Standing Committee.

Since its revival in 1982, the post of General Secretary has been de jure the most important post in the PRC, though it did not become the de facto most important post until Deng Xiaoping's retirement in 1990. As China is a de facto one-party state, the General Secretary holds ultimate power and authority over state and government. However, the men who have held the post have held far less power than Mao Zedong. Since the mid-1990s, the General Secretary has traditionally also held the post of President of the PRC. While the presidency is nominally a ceremonial post, it is customary for the General Secretary to assume the presidency to confirm his status as de jure head of state.

Since the Party National Security Commission and Leading Group for Deepening Reforms established, the power of the General Secretary has become more concentrated.

Since Xi Jinping's ascendance to power, two new bodies, the National Security Commission and Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms, have been established, ostensibly concentrating political power in the "paramount leader" to a greater degree than anyone since Deng.[3] These bodies were tasked with establishing the general policy direction for national security as well as the agenda for economic reform. Both groups are headed by the General Secretary.

List of general secretaries and chairmen

See also


  1. Xi Jinping, 59, was named general secretary of the 82-million-member Communist Party and is set to take over the presidency, a mostly ceremonial post, from Hu Jintao in March.[2]
  • China Online Encyclopedia