Liu Yunshan

Liu Yunshan 刘云山



Former Politburo Standing Committee Member and Head of Propaganda Department.

Liu Yunshan


Pronunciation: Leeyoo Yoon-shahn soundbite
Born: 1947, either in Shanxi or Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Education: Graduate of the Central Party School.
Career: Politburo Standing Committee Member. Director, Party’s Department of Propaganda until 2012. Spent 20 years in Inner Mongolia in various Party positions before moving to the Central Propaganda Department. His son runs a billion-plus dollar private equity firm.
Prospects: Promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee in 2012. Despite taking over from Xi Jinping as head of the Party Secretariat and Central Party School, Liu missed out on the position of Vice President (which went to Li Yuanchao). Retired in 2017.
Relevance to Tibet: Formerly one of China’s most senior leaders.

Standing in the Party and Career Highlights:

Liu was a teacher in Inner Mongolia Autonomous prior to the Cultural Revolution and then a “sent-down youth” in the same region. He joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1971. He seems to have specialised in propaganda from the start of his political career; postings in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region included clerk in a local propaganda department, Xinhua reporter (1975 – 1982), the Communist Youth League and Head of the Propaganda Department, before eventually rising to Deputy Party Secretary of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in 1992. In 1993, Liu was transferred to Beijing where he served as Deputy Director of the Party’s Propaganda Department for nine years, until becoming Director from 2002 – 2012.

Liu’s Communist Youth League connections means he is most strongly associated with Hu Jintao.

Liu appears to have been entirely loyal to his predecessor Li Changchun’s hardline position and to have consistently implemented the Party’s strict control over media and the internet. His elevation to the Politburo Standing Committee heightened censorship fears and may signal an even harsher environment for media and free speech. The South China Morning Post reported. ‘Cheng Yizhong , the former chief editor of the outspoken Southern Metropolis Daily, said that with Liu in charge, “the control on ideology will only get tougher. Most people on the Politburo Standing Committee are either left [the conservative side in mainland politics] or mediocre.”

Among Liu’s roles is Chairman of The Central Commission for Guiding Cultural and Ethical Progress of the Communist Party of China. This is a commission of the Central Committee, tasked with educational efforts to build a “spiritual civilization” based on socialism and the goal to build a socialist harmonious society, according to the official CPC policy. Established on April 21, 1997, it controls nationwide propaganda and ideological dissemination, overlapping the Leading Group for Propaganda and Ideological Work. Both the Commission and the Leading Group are chaired by the Politburo Standing Committee responsible for propaganda, and overrule the CPC Propaganda Department.

In November 2013 a major new leading group on “Overall Reform” was created, led by Xi Jinping. Two other Politburo Standing Committee members are part of this Group apart from Xi and Liu; Li Keqiang and Zhang Gaoli. The South China Morning Post reported that Xi had named subgroups to focus on six reform categories: economics and ecology; culture; democracy and law; social systems; party building; and party discipline.

* In April 2016 Liu Yunshan was named as one of three top Chinese leaders who were revealed in the Panama Papers as having links to offshore companies, with relatives are listed as directors or shareholders in firms located in known tax havens.

Liu Yunshan’s Contact Information:

  • Address: Zhongnanhai, Xi Chang’an Jie, Beijing 100017.
  • Website:
  • Phone: + 86 10 6307 0913
  • Fax: + 86 10 6307 0900

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