About The Committee

The Committee is a unique resource on Chinese politics. With the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in October 2017, The Committee allows users to quickly and easily reference profiles of the 204 full members and the 169 alternate members of the 19th Central Committee. The user interface for this sample of 373 Chinese politicians is built around the motif of a bilingual business card for each Central Committee member that shows their key biographical information. The latest update to The Committee adds complete career data for all full committee members and allows users to see which other members of the Central Committee worked in the same organization at the same time.

The Central Committee is important because it is the “selectorate” of CCP elites that mediates political decision-making in China. It includes almost every central and provincial leader of consequence, as well as heads of various government institutions, key military personnel, and leaders of state-owned enterprises. The Central Committee also contains China’s future cohort of top leaders—those who will ascend to the Politburo or its Standing Committee at the 20th Party Congress in 2022.

The Central Committee, according to the Party Constitution, is one of the CCP’s two “highest leading bodies”—the other being the National Congress, which meets every five years—and has “the power to make decisions on major national policies.” The National Congress “elects” the Central Committee, although the process is controlled by top CCP leaders.

When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Committee is charged with implementing its resolutions, directing all CCP work, and representing the CCP in external relations. The Central Committee meets at least once every year for a plenary session, or “plenum,” which is convened by the Politburo. All Central Committee members can participate in plenums but alternate members cannot vote on any decisions.

The Committee will be updated as members are promoted, change positions, or purged. It will also showcase MacroPolo’s analyses of Chinese elite politics, political norms, and the future of the CCP. This product will continue to evolve and more features will be added over time.

We hope you find The Committee useful and will follow us for updates. To provide feedback or corrections, please contact Damien Ma and Neil Thomas.

Methodological Notes:

We strive to provide the best and latest personnel information. This database is based on open source research and we aim to update any information that may be inaccurate or out of date as soon as possible. Since this is a dynamic database that will be improved over time, users should take note of a few points:

  • An English-Chinese glossary of most organizations and positions mentioned in The Committee can be downloaded here. Not all organizations or positions have a standard English translation, especially when it comes to minor posts held by committee members early in their careers. Some very recently formed organizations are not yet present in our data. This glossary will continue to be updated.
  • The names of all organizations refer to the contemporaneous name of that organization. For example, many ministries have been dissolved or reorganized over past decades, and are referred to by the name under which they operated while a person worked there.
  • The names of all locations refer to current location names and not historical location names. For example, many former prefectures are now counties, and are referred to as such.
  • Full career data and various demographic details are not always available for all committee members. Multiple consecutive positions are sometimes listed under the same organization entry when official sources do not detail the specific times that each position was held.
  • Career data does not include default positions on CCP leadership committees when a member holds a higher-ranking position on that committee. For example, the Party Secretary of a province is automatically a Standing Committee Member of that province’s CCP Committee.
  • The membership of many leading small groups is uncertain, so while we tried to record all verified members of these groups, there will inevitably be some gaps and oversights in our data. We will continue to update this data as new sources come to our attention.
  • Position data in the headline business cards reflect what, in our judgment, are the one or two most important positions held by each member, even though some members also hold more minor appointments.
  • Previous positions reflect either the position a member held immediately before his or her current position or, if a member has held the same position for some time, the position he or she had during the tenure of the 18th Central Committee (2012–2017).
  • Members’ ages are current as of May 2020. As official sources typically do not provide an exact birthday, we chose to count all those born in May as having already passed their birthday in 2020.
  • In cases where rank data are not clearly defined for some members, we used our judgment to infer rank.
  • Sector data reflect our assessment of the primary sector of that member’s employment. Where members hold simultaneous positions in different sectors, such as having dual Party and state roles, we used our discretion in determining which position to prioritize. 

Select Key Abbreviations

CCDI = Central Commission for Discipline Inspection

CCP = Chinese Communist Party

CMC = Central Military Commission

CPPCC = Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference

NPC = National People’s Congress

PAP = People’s Armed Police

PLA = People’s Liberation Army

PLAAF = People’s Liberation Army Air Force

PLAN = People’s Liberation Army Navy

SAPPRFT = State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television

SAR = Special Administrative Region

SASAC = State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission

Credits
Research Design: Damien Ma, Neil Thomas
Research Project Lead: Neil Thomas
Research Assistance: Shiyun Wen, Jinghan Zhu
Development: Schema Design