18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China

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18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
Traditional Chinese 中國共產黨第十八次全國代表大會
Simplified Chinese 中国共产党第十八次全国代表大会
Chinese 十八大

The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China began on November 8, 2012[1] in Beijing, China, at the Great Hall of the People.[2][3] Due to term and age limits restrictions, seven of the nine members of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) retired during the Congress, including Hu Jintao, who was replaced by Xi Jinping as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. The Congress elected the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and saw the number of Politburo Standing Committee seats reduced from nine to seven.

The seven PSC members elected during the Congress were Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. Five of these were identified as associates or having benefited from the patronage of former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin, who reportedly exerted considerable influence in shaping the composition of the new Standing Committee. Only Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan are considered to be members of the tuanpai.[4]


The 18th National Congress will have 2270 delegates selected from 40 constituencies. This represents an increase of 57 delegates and two constituencies from the 17th Congress. 31 of these constituencies represent China's province-level Provinces, Autonomous Regions, and Municipalities. Six other delegations represent: Taiwan, the People's Liberation Army, The Central Party Organization, The Central Government Ministries and Commissions, Central State Owned Enterprises, and Central Banks and Financial Institutions. The remaining three delegations are the subject of conflicting accounts. Hong Kong and Macau may represent two delegations or one delegation or they may be treated as part of the Guangdong delegation. Other delegations that have been identified by various sources include the Peoples Armed Police, units involved in “social management”, the public service sector, workers in private enterprises, and workers in foreign and joint enterprises. No more than 68% of the delegates may hold leadership positions within the party. The remaining 32% will be "grassroots" party members who hold jobs outside of the party apparatus. The number of female delegates will be required to increase. Each delegation will be selected (by the province level congresses) in an election in which there are at least 15% more candidates than there are delegates to be selected. The candidates in these elections are heavily vetted by multiple party organs. In addition to these 2270 delegates, an uncertain number of additional delegates, primarily retired veteran Communist leaders, will be selected. At the 17th National Congress there were 57 such delegates.[5][6]


It was widely speculated that Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang would succeed Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao as top Politburo Standing Committee members by November 2012, and take over the Presidency and Premiership in March 2013 at the National People's Congress.[7] If previously implemented retirement policies were followed, no other current members of the PSC would continue to serve in that capacity. About 70% of the members of the Central Military Commission and the executive committee of the State Council would also turn over in 2012, resulting in the most significant leadership transition in decades.

Chinese politics prior to the 18th National Congress trended towards "collective leadership", where the paramount leader had to share power with his circle of senior leaders in the Politburo Standing Committee, particularly the Premier. Thus the ultimate position of paramount leader would not have the same amount of power accorded to it during the era of Mao and Deng.[7] The practice of governing through consensus within the Politburo Standing Committee was enshrined during the 16th Party Congress in 2002. During that Congress, the size of the Standing Committee was increased from seven members to nine, with Luo Gan and Li Changchun being added to handle the law enforcement and propaganda portfolios, respectively. However, these two factors led to inefficiencies in the decision-making process. In order to improve the efficacy of the Standing Committee, the 18th Party Congress was expected to end in a return to a smaller, seven-member committee. The propaganda and public security portfolios were expected to be downgraded to the level of the Politburo.[8]

As of September 2012, the reduced Politburo Standing Committee was expected to include Xi Jinping as General Secretary and President, Li Keqiang as Premier of the State Council, Yu Zhengsheng as Chairman of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang as Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Li Yuanchao as Secretariat Secretary and Vice President, Wang Qishan as First Vice Premier, and Wang Yang as Secretary of the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection.[8]

The leadership lineup[edit]

Politburo Standing Committee[edit]

As of 15 November 2012, the newly formed Politburo Standing Committee consisted of (in order ranking) Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, from the 17th Central Committee, in addition to newcomers:

3. Zhang Dejiang (3rd-ranked Vice Premier and Party Chief of Chongqing)
4. Yu Zhengsheng (Party chief of Shanghai)
5. Liu Yunshan (Head of the CPC Propaganda Department and elected as Top-ranked Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the CPC)
6. Wang Qishan (4th-ranked Vice Premier and elected as Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection)
7. Zhang Gaoli (Party chief of Tianjin)

The Politburo[edit]

In stroke order of surnames

Leaving the Politburo[edit]


  1. Liu Yunshan
  2. Liu Qibao
  3. Zhao Leji
  4. Li Zhanshu
  5. Du Qinglin
  6. Zhao Hongzhu
  7. Yang Jing

Central Military Commission positions[edit]

  • Chairman - Xi Jinping (also General Secretary of the CPC and Vice-president of the PRC)
  • Vice Chairman - General Fan Changlong, former commander of the Jinan Military Region
  • Vice Chairman - Air Force General Xu Qiliang, former commander of the PLA Air Force
  • General Chang Wanquan, Minister of National Defense, former Director of the General Armament Department
  • General Zhang Youxia, Director of the General Armament Department
  • General Fang Fenghui, Director of the General Staff Department
  • General Zhang Yang, Director of the General Political Department
  • General Zhao Keshi, Director of the General Logistics Department
  • Air Force General Ma Xiaotian, Commander of the PLA Air Force, former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the PLA
  • General Wei Fenghe, Commander of the Second Artillery Corps[9]
  • Admiral Wu Shengli, Commander of the PLA Navy

Ministerial positions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hu Jintao opens China party congress as leadership change begins". BBC News. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  2. ^ China seals Bo's fate ahead of November 8 leadership congress. Reuters (28 September 2012). Retrieved on 24 October 2012.
  3. ^ CPC to convene 12th National Congress on Nov. 8 – Xinhua | English.news.cn. News.xinhuanet.com (28 September 2012). Retrieved on 24 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Meet the New Politburo Standing Committee". Americanprogress.org. 
  5. ^ Cheng Li. Preparing For the 18th Party Congress: Procedures and Mechanisms. hoover.org
  6. ^ Alice Miller. The Road to the 18th Party Congress. hoover.org
  7. ^ a b "Xi Jinping's rise and political implications.". China: An International Journal 7(1). March 2009. , full text on thefreelibrary.com
  8. ^ a b Willy Lam, Finalizing the 18th Party Congress: Setting the Stage for Reform?, China Brief, Volume 12 Issue 18 (21 September 2012).
  9. ^ McDermott, Roger. "The Jamestown Foundation: Professionalism and Factionalism in the PLA Leadership Selection". Jamestown.org. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 

External links[edit]