Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
General SecretaryXi Jinping
Elected byCentral Committee
Responsible to Central Committee
Meeting place
Huairen Hall, Zhongnanhai
Beijing, China[1]
Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party
Simplified Chinese中国共产党中央委员会政治局
Traditional Chinese中國共產黨中央委員會政治局
Literal meaningChina Communist Party Central Committee Political Bureau
Literal meaningPolitical Bureau

The Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, officially as the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest political body of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

Currently, the bureau is a group of 24 top officials who oversee the party and central government. The politburo is headed by a general secretary. Unlike politburos of other communist parties, power within the CCP Politburo is further centralized in the Politburo Standing Committee, a group of 7 individuals from among the larger Politburo.

The Politburo is elected by the Central Committee. In practice, however, scholars of Chinese elite politics believe that the Politburo is a self-perpetuating body, with new members of both the Politburo and its Standing Committee chosen through a series of deliberations by current Politburo members and retired Politburo Standing Committee members. The current and former Politburo members conduct a series of informal straw polls to determine the group's level of support for each new candidate's membership in the Politburo. The process for selecting the new Politburo begins with a closed door meeting by the incumbent Politburo Standing Committee in Beidaihe in the summer before the National Congress of the CCP convenes.[2][3]

The power of the Politburo resides largely in the fact that its members generally simultaneously hold positions within the People's Republic of China state positions and with the control over personnel appointments that the Politburo and Secretariat have. In addition, some Politburo members hold powerful regional positions. How the Politburo works internally is unclear, but it appears that the full Politburo meets once a month and the standing committee meets weekly. This is believed to be much less frequent than meetings of the former Soviet Politburo. The agenda for the meetings is controlled by the CCP general secretary and decisions are made by consensus rather than by majority vote.[4]


The Politburo was eclipsed by the Secretariat of the Chinese Communist Party in the early 1980s under Hu Yaobang,[5] but has re-emerged as a dominant force after Hu's ousting in 1987.

Composition and selection

Since the 1990s, Politburo members concurrently held posts in the party apparatus, in state posts, and as regional party chiefs.[6] Some are party secretaries of important provinces or municipalities.[7]: 57  In addition, members serving in the military and security sectors have been limited to 3 posts. In contrast, most members in the 1980s had a military command background.[6] In 2017, for the 19th Central Committee Politburo, aside from the heads of the four main institutional hierarchies—the CCP, the National People's Congress, the State Council and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, there were six members each holding posts in the party, the national government, the regional governments, and three in the military.[6] The average age of the 2017 Politburo's members was 62, which was similar to those in recent decades. Before that, the Party under Deng Xiaoping deliberately encouraged turnover by imposing term limits and retirement ages.[6]

In October 2017, at the First Plenary Session of the 19th CCP Central Committee, it was decided that all Politburo members shall make an annual written presentation to the Central Committee and the General Secretary.[8] In March 2018, all Standing Committee members and members of the Politburo made their first written presentation to the Central Committee and General Secretary Xi Jinping.[9]

Since the 17th National Congress, the official way of electing the Politburo was through a process called "democratic recommendation" (民主推荐) where the CCP conducted a straw poll of 200 candidates to the Politburo, which were factored into the final list of candidates presented at the National Congress of the CCP. However, this was abolished in the 19th National Congress under Xi, which denounced the "vote buying" and the "voting based on personal connections and favors" of this method, particularly in connection to politicians who fell after the anti-corruption campaign under Xi. The process was officially replaced with a method of "face-to-face interviews, investigation and study".[10]

Cadre training

Further information: Cadre system of the Chinese Communist Party

In 2001, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party published the 2001-2005 National Plan for Cadre Training elevating the importance of cadre training for Chinese economic reform. The salaries of staff in party schools were brought in line with the salaries paid in regular Chinese universities. Teaching, research, and information technology was modernized to enable distance education throughout the party school system.[11]: 47 

Modern cadre training focuses on quality and ability. Students are trained in ideological orthodoxy, submitting to Leninism and party discipline. The young cadre is trained in applying their knowledge creatively and independently, so as to deal flexibly with complex issues and accept continuous learning.[11]: 50  The initiative for cadre training after 2002 was buttressed by the Central Party School, and the regional party schools, including the Party Schools in Shanghai and Shenzhen.[11]: 51 


The Politburo and the Politburo Standing Committee are the top decision-making institutions for the CCP Central Committee.[12]

The Politburo typically meets once a month.[13]: 57  The Politburo holds regular study sessions which serve as an opportunity for CCP leadership to promote new policies.[12] Since 2002, these sessions have been widely publicized.[12] Frequently, they address foreign affairs.[12]

Current Politburo

Main article: 20th Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party

The 20th Politburo was elected at the first plenary session of the 20th Central Committee in October 2022.

See also


  1. ^ Wang, Jun (15 June 2013). "中央政治局如何开会". qikan.com. Archived from the original on 19 October 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  2. ^ Li, Cheng (2016). Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership. Brookings Institution. ISBN 9780815726937. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  3. ^ Kang Lim, Benjamin (20 November 2017). "Exclusive: China's backroom powerbrokers block reform candidates - sources". Reuters. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  4. ^ Miller, H. "Hu Jintao and the Party Politburo" (PDF). China Leadership Monitor. Hoover Institution. p. 5. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  5. ^ Li, Cheng et al. (2008). China's Changing Political Landscape, Washington: Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-8157-5209-7.
  6. ^ a b c d Miller, Alice. "The 19th Central Committee Politburo". China Leadership Monitor 55 (2018).
  7. ^ Li, David Daokui (2024). China's World View: Demystifying China to Prevent Global Conflict. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0393292398.
  8. ^ "中共中央政治局召开会议 研究部署学习宣传贯彻党的十九大精神". Xinhua. 2017-10-27. Archived from the original on 2020-11-09. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  9. ^ "中央政治局同志向党中央和习近平总书记述职". China Central Television. 2018-03-21. Archived from the original on 2020-11-09. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  10. ^ "Raising the Curtain on China's 20th Party Congress: Mechanics, Rules, "Norms," and the Realities of Power". Asia Society. August 4, 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-28.
  11. ^ a b c Pieke, Frank N. (2009). The Good Communist: Elite Training and State Building in Today's China. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139482134.
  12. ^ a b c d Zhao, Suisheng (2023). The Dragon Roars Back: Transformational Leaders and Dynamics of Chinese Foreign Policy. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. p. 175. doi:10.1515/9781503634152. ISBN 978-1-5036-3088-8. OCLC 1331741429.
  13. ^ Li, David Daokui (2024). China's World View: Demystifying China to Prevent Global Conflict. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0393292398.