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 203 full members and the 172 alternate members of the 19th Central Committee. The user interface for this sample of 375 Chinese politicians is built around a business card motif, each of which contains key biographical information of a Central Committee member in both English and Chinese.

The Committee will be updated as members are promoted, change positions, or, in a prospective career-ending scenario that has become more common in the Xi Jinping era, are purged. It will also showcase MacroPolo’s analysis of Chinese elite politics, political norms, and the future of the CCP.

It is important to focus on the Central Committee because it is the broad body of CCP elites that defines and mediates politics in China. That is because every central and provincial leader of consequence, as well as key military personnel and heads of various government institutions, are typically included in this important political body. 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 375 members can participate in plenums but alternate members cannot vote on any decisions.

The analyses of Chinese politics that appear on The Committee focus on topics we believe matter most for markets, businesses, and the policy community. The aim is to offer relevant insight and commentary on political drivers and interest group dynamics that can determine important policy debates and economic decisions in China.

This is increasingly important because China’s current and future economic reforms are inherently political. That is to say, the nature of China’s economic reforms has changed—the “reform dividends,” which previously more or less lifted all boats, will no longer apply equally to all interest groups and economic constituencies. The reform choices China makes from now on will be fundamentally about redistributing wealth and benefits, choosing among winning and losing constituencies, and enfranchising marginalized populations who have been left on the periphery of prosperity. We expect interest-driven politics to intensify in the years to come.

Our analysis will include, for example, postmortems on the outcomes of the 19th Party Congress, examinations of bureaucratic politics and the Central Committee itself, personnel politics, and the state of the anticorruption campaign, among other topics.

We hope you find The Committee useful and will continue to keep up with updates. To provide feedback and corrections, please contact Damien Ma and Neil Thomas.

Methodological Notes:

As a main feature of The Committee, it is important that we aim to provide the latest personnel information. This means that the biographical cards may change over time, as we consider additional information about certain Central Committee members. Because this database is based largely on open source research, we will strive to modify any information that might be inaccurate or out of date in a timely manner.

In our presentation of the biographical data of Central Committee members, we have struck a balance between usefulness and comprehensiveness. Since this is a dynamic database that will be improved over time, users should take note of a few points:

  • Position data reflect what, in our judgment, are the one or two most relevant positions held by each member, even though some members hold more appointments than currently listed.
  • 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 18th Central Committee (2012–2017).
  • Members’ ages are current as of March 2019. As official sources typically do not provide an exact birthday, we chose to count all those born in March as having already passed their birthday in 2019.
  • 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.

Glossary of 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