China’s political system: 5 pillar agencies
Position holders as of March 2013. Portfolios of senior leaders are included where these are significant or relevant to Tibet. Prepared by the International Tibet Network

The Party
Party Secretary: Xi Jinping

Politburo Standing Committee

China’s paramount authority (7 members)

1. Xi Jinping Secretary General
2. Li Keqiang Premier of the State Council
3. Zhang Dejiang Chair of the NPC
4. Yu Zhengsheng Chair of CPPCC
5. Liu Yunshan Party School and Central Committee Secretariat
6. Wang Qishan Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
7. Zhang Gaoli Also Vice Premier

The Politburo

(7 Standing Committee Members + 18 others)

Ma Kai T Also Vice Premier
Liu Yandong T Also Vice Premier
Wang Yang Also Vice Premier
Li Yuanchao Also Vice President
Meng Jianzhu T Politics and Law Commission (Public Security Tsar)
Zhao Leji T Organization Department
Liu Qibao T Propaganda Department
Hu Chunhua 6th T Guangdong Party Secretary
Sun Zhengcai 6th Chongqing Party Secretary
Guo Jinlong T Vice Chairman, Central Guidance Commission on Building Spiritual Civilization
Li Zhanshu Director, Central Committee General Office Sun Chunlan Head, United Front Work Department

Central Committee (205 members and 171 Alternate Members)

Liu Yunshan Head of Secretariat.
The Central Committee includes Politburo Members, Ministers, Military & Provincial leaders and some Business leaders. Important Party bodies including United Front, Politics & Law Commission, Discipline Inspection, Propaganda and Organization Departments technically come under Secretariat. On the Secretariat are: Liu Qibao T, Du Qinglin T, Zhao Leji, Yang Jing T, Li Zhanshu (Xi Jinping’s Chief of Staff) and Zhao Hongzhu

Party Congress (2,000+ members)

Meets once every 5 years (most recently in November 2012 when the leadership changed to the 5th generation); Party Congress delegates nominally “elect” the Central Committee and Politburo.

Provincial Party Secretaries

(There are 34 Provinces, autonomous regions & province level municipalities including:)

Wu Yingjie Tibet Autonomous Region
Luo Huining Qinghai
Wang Dongming Sichuan
Lin Duo Gansu
Chen Hao Yunnan
Chen Min’er 6th Guizhou Party Secretary
Chen Quanguo T Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

The Government Congress & Judiciary
State President: Xi Jinping, Vice President: Li Yuanchao

State Council

State Council Cabinet (10 members)

Li Keqiang – Premier
Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yandong T, Wang Yang, and Ma Kai T – Vice Premiers
State Councilors (with portfolios where known):
Yang Jing T (also Secretary General of the State Council)
Guo Shengkun Public Security
Yang Jiechi Foreign Affairs
Chang Wanquan and Wang Yong
Ministers/Bureau Heads (40)
Wang Yi – Minister of Foreign Affairs
– Wu Chuntai, Ambassador to Nepal
Zhang Jun  – Minister of Justice (Wu Aiying expelled)
Guo Shengkun – Public Security Minister; responsible for Public Security Bureau (PSB), also shares oversight of PAP with Central Military Commission – see right.
Chen Wenqing – State Security Minister
Wang Zhengwei – Minister, State Ethnic Affairs Commission
Xu Shaoshi – Minister, National Development & Reform Commission. Also Nur Bekri 6th – Deputy Director, National Development & Reform Commission
Xiao Jie – Finance Minister
Wang Zuo’an – Minister, State Administration for Religious Affairs (+ others)
Among many other bodies under the State Council are Xinhua, the Information Office and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

National People’s Congress (approx 3,000 members)

Zhang Dejiang Chair
The National People’s Congress (NPC) meets annually in March (not to be confused with the Party Congress which meets only once every 5 years – see left). The NPC is technically China’s legislative body and nominally elects the State President, the Premier of the State Council and the Head of the Judiciary; the President of the Supreme People’s Court [Zhou Qiang 6th ].

Provincial-level Governors (34 including:)

Che Dalha Tibet Autonomous Region
Hao Peng T Qinghai
Zakir Shohrat (Acting) Xinjiang
Lu Hao 6th Heilongjiang

Other Local Leaders

Lobsang Gyaltsen Chair of Standing Committee of Tibet People’s Congress, Tibet Autonomous Region
Padma Choling formerly Chair of People’s Congress, Tibet Autonomous Region – position unclear
Shi Jun Chief of Public Security, Sichuan Province
Liu Zuoming Party Secretary, Ngaba (Aba) Prefecture
Wu Zegang Governor, Ngaba (Aba) Prefecture

Note: Most senior Party Members have multiple roles and also hold senior Government as well as Party positions.
There are Party bodies, each with their own Party Secretary, in all prefectures, counties, towns, townships, military units, work (government) units, universities, schools, factories and media etc. Party Secretaries are always superior to their non-Party counterparts.

The Military

Central Military Commission

Xi Jinping Chair
Vice Chairs: General Fan Changlong and General Xu Qiliang
(and 8 further Generals)

Wang Jianping T Deputy Chief of General Staff
Note: There are 2 Central Military Commissions – one Party and one State – with identical memberships. The Generals occasionally exert pressure on Party leaders.

People’s Liberation Army

(PLA, green uniforms)
There are 7 Military Regions including:
Chengdu Military Region (SW) which encompasses Sichuan, Yunnan and eastern TAR.
Lanzhou Military Region (NW) which encompasses Qinghai, Gansu, Xinjiang and western TAR.

People’s Armed Police

(PAP, blue uniforms)
Wang Ning
Authority over the PAP is shared between the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of Public Security.

The United Front

United Front Work Department

Sun Chunlan Director
Zhang Yijiong Deputy Director T,
Other Deputy Directors are Lin Zhimin and You Lantian.
Sithar 7th Bureau Head

Note: The United Front Work Department is responsible for relations with non-party entities including ethnic minorities. The UFWD’s 7th Bureau was established in 2005 to handle Tibetan affairs. The UFWD comes under the Party’s Central Committee (see Column 1, The Party) but it is higher than most Party offices. It is directed by the Party leaders, but it also influences them.

Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (2,200 members)

Yu Zhengsheng Chair
Du Qinglin T Vice Chair
10 other Vice Chairs include Zhang Qingli T who is also Secretary General
Zhu Weiqun Chairman of the Religious and Ethnic Affairs Committee.

Meets annually to “advise” the National People’s Congress. Membership has broadened to include business and religious leaders (eg Gyaltsen Norbu), scholars and celebrities.

The Mass Organisations

Communist Youth League

Qin Yizhi T Secretary

Note: The Communist Youth League was previously fertile recruiting ground for future Party Leaders, but its influence has waned and in 2016 became subject to shrinkage and controls.

Trade Unions

Women’s Federation


Xiao Wunan T Asia Pacific Exchange & Cooperation Foundation

Former Leaders:
Hu Jintao Former Party Secretary
Wu Bangguo Former PSC
Wen Jiabao Former Premier
Jia Qinglin Former PSC
Li Changchun Former PSC
He Guoqiang Former PSC
Zhou Yongkang Disgraced former PSC
Bo Xilai Jailed former Politburo
Ling Jihua Disgraced former UFWD Head
Xi Zhongxun Father of Xi Jinping


T Denotes an individual who has previously served in Tibetan areas (eg Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan), been involved in United Front Work or on the Tibet Leading Group
6th Denotes 6th Generation rising stars, potentially in senior Party positions in 2022.
Grey: Denotes relatively limited power/influence
Blue: Denotes individuals or positions that could be involved in a Tibet Work Leading Small Group, based on the pre-2012 structure of this Group (Note: A Leading Small Group (LSG) is a Party consulting body which provides a mechanism for decision-makers to exchange views and develop recommendations for the Politburo and State Council; examples include Foreign Affairs, Propaganda and Thought, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Xi Jinping established and oversees two new LSGs on Comprehensively Deepening Reform and the National Security Commission. In July 2015 a LSG on United Front Work was established, but there are no details on who is in charge and it is not clear how this relates to a Tibet LSG.

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