Zhou Qiang
Chief Justice and President of the Supreme People's Court
Assumed office
15 March 2013
DeputyShen Deyong
Preceded byWang Shengjun
Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party of Hunan
In office
25 April 2010 – 20 March 2013
DeputyXu Shousheng (governor)
Preceded byZhang Chunxian
Succeeded byXu Shousheng
First Secretary of the Communist Youth League of China
In office
25 June 1998 – 6 November 2006
Preceded byLi Keqiang
Succeeded byHu Chunhua
Personal details
Born (1960-04-25) 25 April 1960 (age 62)
Huangmei County, Hubei, People's Republic of China
Political partyChinese Communist Party (1983–present)
Alma materSouthwest University of Political Science & Law
Zhou Qiang
Simplified Chinese周强
Traditional Chinese周強

Zhou Qiang (Chinese: 周强; pinyin: Zhōu Qiáng; born 25 April 1960) is a Chinese politician who is the current Chief Justice[1] and President of the Supreme People's Court of China. Previously, he served as the secretary of the Chinese Communist Party's Hunan committee, the effective head of the province of Hunan.[2] He served as the province's governor between 2007 and 2010. Zhou also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Youth League of China between 1998 and 2006.

Life and career

Born in Huangmei County, Hubei Province, Zhou grew up during the Cultural Revolution. In 1978, he was part of the first batch of students admitted through the National College Entrance Examinations to the Southwest University of Political Science & Law. Zhou obtained a master's degree in law in 1986. He joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during his studies, in 1983.

In November 1995, he was elected secretary of the central secretariat of the Chinese Communist Youth League (CYL) at the 4th plenary session of the 13th CYL central committee. In June 1998, he was elevated to first secretary of the CYL central secretariat, and was re-elected in July 2003.

In February 2007, Zhou was appointed governor of Hunan, after a five-month period that saw him made a standing committee member and vice secretary of the CCP Hunan committee (September 3), and then acting governor of Hunan (September 30), appointed by the standing committee of the 10th Hunan People's Congress; he resigned as first secretary of the central secretariat of the CYL in December. He was re-elected governor of Hunan on January 24, 2008.

On April 25, 2010, Zhou, then aged 50, was appointed Communist Party Secretary of Hunan, becoming one of the youngest provincial party chiefs in the country.[3] His rise to power is comparable to that of then-Party general secretary Hu Jintao and then-Vice-Premier Li Keqiang; all three men had background in the Communist Youth League of China.

President of the Supreme People's Court

In March 2013, the NPC installed Zhou as the President of the Supreme People's Court.

Like other top Chinese leaders, Zhou spoke often of promoting the 'rule of law' and was thought to be aligned with CCP general secretary Xi Jinping's stated ambition to make the court system in China fairer.[4] Indeed, in his first few years in office, Zhou overturned several court decisions as unjust, including the wrongful execution of Nie Shubin in 1995; granted judges more independence; and restricted local officials’ influence over court rulings, although ultimately courts at all levels had to answer to the party leadership.[5]

But in 2017, speaking at a Supreme People's Court meeting on January 14, Zhou warned the courts against the 'idea of judicial independence'. He said:

[China's courts] must firmly resist the western idea of “constitutional democracy”, “separation of powers” and “judicial independence”. These are erroneous western notions that threaten the leadership of the ruling Communist Party and defame the Chinese socialist path on the rule of law. We have to raise our flag and show our sword to struggle against such thoughts. We must not fall into the trap of western thoughts and judicial independence. We must stay firm on the Chinese socialist path on the rule of law.[5]

This tougher line was interpreted as self-protection amid a CCP power struggle ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.[5]

Zhou was a member of the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th Central Committees of the CCP.


  1. ^ Judges Law of the People's Republic of China, Article 16: "Judges are divided into twelve grades. The President of the Supreme People's Court is the Chief Justice."
  2. ^ Cui, Jia (2010-04-23). "Young official named Hunan Party chief". China Daily. Archived from the original on 29 April 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  3. ^ "Zhou Qiang Appointed Party Chief of Hunan -- Hunan Government". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  4. ^ "Zhou Qiang Picked as Head of China's Supreme People's Court". Bloomberg News. March 15, 2013. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c China's Top Judge Warns Against the ‘Threat’ of Judicial Independence Archived 2019-08-16 at the Wayback Machine, Global Voices, 20 January 2017
Legal offices Preceded byWang Shengjun President of the Supreme People's Court 2013–present Incumbent Party political offices Preceded byLi Keqiang First Secretary of the Communist Youth League of China 1998–2006 Succeeded byHu Chunhua Preceded byZhang Chunxian Secretary of the Hunan CPC Committee 2010–2013 Succeeded byXu Shousheng Government offices Preceded byZhou Bohua Governor of Hunan 2006–2010 Succeeded byXu Shousheng