Central Foreign Affairs Commission
Formation1981; 43 years ago (1981)
TypeSupra-ministerial policy coordination and consultation body
  • Beijing
Xi Jinping
Deputy Leader
Li Qiang
Office Director
Wang Yi
Parent organization
Central Committee
SubsidiariesMinistry of Foreign Affairs
Central Foreign Affairs Commission
Simplified Chinese中央外事工作委员会

The Foreign Affairs Commission of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, commonly called the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, is a commission of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that exercises general oversight on matters related to foreign affairs.

The group was first established as the Central Foreign Affairs Leading Group (FALG) in 1958. Disbanded during the Cultural Revolution, it was restored by Deng Xiaoping in 1981. The FALG was upgraded to the Central Foreign Affairs Commission in March 2018.

The main execution body of the commission is the General Office, with the director of the Office being China's top diplomat, currently Wang Yi. Since 1993, the group has been led by the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and the premier has served as the deputy leader of the group. It is currently chaired by CCP general secretary Xi Jinping, with premier Li Qiang as its deputy leader.


The Central Foreign Affairs Leading Group, also called the Central Foreign Affairs Leadership Small Group (FALG or FALSG; Chinese: 中央外事工作领导小组; pinyin: Zhōngyāng Wàishì Gōngzuò Lǐngdǎo Xiǎozǔ), was first established in 1958. It was disbanded during the Cultural Revolution and restored in 1981 as Deng Xiaoping increased the number of stakeholders involved in the development of foreign policy.[1]: 177  The group has historically been a semi-institutional foreign policy coordination body,[1]: 177  and became a forum for the central leadership in charge of foreign policy to meet regularly with top bureaucrats to discuss priorities, achieve consensus, and prepare recommendations for the Politburo.[1]: 178  It was the only standing foreign policy coordination body until the aftermath of the United States bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, which prompted the creation of the Central National Security Leadership Small Group (NSLSG) in 2000 to coordinate national security crisis response.[1]: 178 

In March 2018, the leading group was upgraded to the Central Foreign Affairs Commission.[2][3] It also was put in charge of maritime rights and interests following the disestablishment of the Central Leading Group for Safeguarding Maritime Rights and Interests.[4]


The commission is the top CCP institution dedicated to China's foreign affairs. Through the commission, the CCP leadership makes decisions, assigns responsibilities and oversees implementation on a broad range of foreign-related activities.[5] The policies handled by the commission include traditional diplomacy, party-to-party diplomacy, external propaganda, external trade, intelligence activities overseas, counterespionage, and internal aspects of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan affairs. The meetings of the commission are rarely publicized.[5]

The Foreign Relations Law of the People's Republic of China states that the commission is "responsible for policy making, deliberation and coordination relating to the conduct of foreign relations".[6][7] The law further states that the commission "considers and formulates the State's foreign relations strategy and related major principles and policies, and provides guidance for their implementation" and that it is "responsible for top-level design, coordination and holistic advancement of work concerning foreign relations, and supervises its implementation".[7]

The Office of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission is its administrative agency, operating secretively like its parent body.[5] The Office is responsible for executing and coordinating the implementation of the decisions and directives of the commission. It additionally conducts research and makes suggestions on international relations, drafts and oversees foreign-related laws and regulations, handles foreign-related inquiries from Party, state and local bodies, and organizes work on maritime rights and interests.[5]

Though the office itself is a ministerial-level institution, the director of the Office has been a member of the Politburo and at the sub national-level leader.[5] Generally, the director has greater authority than the Minister of Foreign Affairs.[8]: 77–78  The director of the Commission's Office, currently Wang Yi, is the top diplomat of the People's Republic of China.[9]


The membership of the commission generally consists of China's national leaders, including the CCP general secretary, the premier, the vice president, heads of the International Liaison Department and Central Propaganda Department, the director of the State Council Information Office, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of National Defense, the Minister of Public Security, the Minister of State Security, the Minister of Commerce, and heads of CCP and state agencies related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and overseas Chinese.[5]


  1. Li Xiannian (1981–1988), CCP Vice Chairman, President
  2. Li Peng (1988–1993), Premier
  3. Jiang Zemin (1993–2003), CCP General Secretary and President
  4. Hu Jintao (2003–2013), CCP General Secretary and President
  5. Xi Jinping (2013–present), CCP General Secretary and President
Yang Jiechi and General Fang Fenghui with James Mattis and Rex Tillerson, June 2017

19th Committee


20th Committee


  1. ^ a b c d Zhao, Suisheng (2023). The Dragon Roars Back: Transformational Leaders and Dynamics of Chinese Foreign Policy. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. doi:10.1515/9781503634152. ISBN 978-1-5036-3088-8. OCLC 1331741429.
  2. ^ "CPC releases plan on deepening reform of Party and state institutions". People's Daily. Archived from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  3. ^ Legarda, Helena (1 August 2018). "In Xi's China, the Center Takes Control of Foreign Affairs". The Diplomat. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  4. ^ Gore, Lance (3 October 2023). "How Xi Jinping built a party-centred administrative regime". ThinkChina. Archived from the original on 11 January 2024. Retrieved 11 January 2024.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Decoding Chinese Politics". Asia Society. Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  6. ^ Rudolf, Moritz (28 June 2023). "China's Foreign Relations Law: Balancing "Struggle" with Beijing's "Responsible Great Power" Narrative". NPC Observer. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  7. ^ a b "The Law on Foreign Relations of the People's Republic of China". Xinhua News Agency. 28 June 2023. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  8. ^ Šebok, Filip (2023). "China's Political System". In Kironska, Kristina; Turscanyi, Richard Q. (eds.). Contemporary China: a New Superpower?. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-03-239508-1.
  9. ^ "China's Communist Party Names Wang Yi to Lead Foreign Policy". Bloomberg News. 2023-01-01. Retrieved 2023-01-01.
  10. ^ Yue, Huairang (15 May 2018). "中央外事工作委员会领导层出炉" [The leadership of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission announced]. The Paper. Retrieved 18 September 2023.

See also