Party chief of the Communist Party of China

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In modern Chinese politics, a party chief (simplified Chinese: 党委书记; traditional Chinese: 黨委書記; pinyin: Dǎngwěi shūji), variously called a party boss, and officially termed the Communist Party Committee Secretary, is the leader of the local Communist Party of China division, and in most cases, the de facto highest political office of its area of jurisdiction. Aside from the regional or municipal affix, the title does not change regardless of the size of the jurisdiction.

In post-Cultural Revolution Chinese political theory, the Communist Party is responsible for the development of policy and the government is responsible for its day-to-day execution. At every level of jurisdiction, a government leader serves alongside the party secretary. For example, in the case of a province, the provincial Party Secretary is the de facto highest office, but the government is headed by a government leader called a "Governor" (Chinese: 省长). The Governor is usually the second-highest ranking official in the party's Provincial Committee, and holds the concurrent title of "Deputy Party Committee Secretary" (Chinese: 省委副书记). A similar comparison can be made for municipal Party Secretaries and Mayors.

There have been rare instances where both Party Secretary and Governor (or Mayor) positions were held by the same person.

The title of "Party Secretary" is not only used for government jurisdictions. It also applies to other organs of the state, including state-owned enterprises, universities, and hospitals.

From the top down[edit]

Beginning at the provincial level, China's party-government dual administrative system arranges a hierarchy by which the party chief is in charge of determining the direction of policy as well as personnel changes, and the corresponding government leader is responsible for implementing party policy and arranging the annual budget, as well as other everyday government matters and ceremonial tasks. The list of party chief levels is as follows:

  • At the central level, the party chief is known as CPC Central Committee General Secretary (中央总书记), while the corresponding government position is known as Premier.
  • At the provincial level, the party chief is known as CPC Provincial Committee Secretary (省委书记), while the corresponding government position is known as Governor.
  • At the prefecture or municipal level, the party chief is known as CPC Municipal Committee Secretary (市委书记), while the corresponding government position is known as Mayor.
  • At the county level, the party chief is known as CPC County Committee Secretary (县委书记), while the corresponding government position is known as the County Governor.
  • At the township level, the party chief is known as CPC Township/town Committee Secretary (乡委书记), while the corresponding government position is known as the Magistrate.
  • At the village level, the local party chief, known as the Village Party Branch Secretary (村支部书记) heads a committee of around ten people to make executive decisions related to the village. The process is not entirely formal, and therefore the party chief at this level is not considered part of the Chinese civil service.

In writing and the mass media, the "CPC" designation before the title is not used often because it is assumed that "Provincial Committee Secretary" refers to the Communist Party secretary.

Generally, a party chief may concurrently hold the corresponding deputy government position, while a top government official (the mayor, governor) will also hold the first deputy party chief position.

References[edit]