Party Committee Secretary

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Party Committee Secretary
Traditional Chinese 黨委書記
Simplified Chinese 党委书记
Abbreviation
Traditional Chinese 書記
Simplified Chinese 书记

In modern Chinese politics, a Party Committee Secretary (Chinese: 党委书记; also translated as Party Secretary, party chief, or party boss), is the leader of the Communist Party of China organization in a province, city, or other administrative region. In most cases, it is the de facto highest political office of its area of jurisdiction.

The term can also be used for the leadership position of Communist Party organizations in state-owned enterprises, universities, hospitals, or other institutions of the state.

In post-Cultural Revolution Chinese political theory, the Communist Party is responsible for the formulation of policies 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, though this is not the common practice since the end of the Cultural Revolution. The Party Secretary is usually assisted by numerous Deputy Party Secretaries.

Party-Government Organization hierarchy[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 top government official (the mayor, governor) will also hold the first deputy party chief position.

Party Branch Secretary[edit]

A "Party Branch" or "Party Group" (党组; dangzu) exists in almost all institutions of state which are not formally part of the Communist Party organization. These include government organs, People's Congresses, ministries, provincial and municipal departments and so on. These organizations are created by mandate of a Party Committee, serve to ensure that the general policy guidelines of the party is followed at each respective institution. They may gather for ad hoc meetings to study party documents or speeches or carry out "party life meetings" at their respective institutions, but they do not serve as an executive body in the domains which they reside.

The Party Branch Secretary or Party Group Secretary (党组书记; dangzu shuji) is a distinct office from that of the Party Committee Secretary. They do not have the elaborate organization and bureaucracy that is commonplace with a Party Committee. Unlike Party Committees, which report to parent Party Committees at a higher level of jurisdiction, Party Branches are responsible to the Party Committee that mandated its creation.

Some ministries do not have Communist Party members serving as ministers. In some ministries, the Party Branch Secretary is subordinate to the Minister. A Party Branch Secretary may be assisted by a Deputy Party Branch Secretary.

A prominent example of the Party Branch Secretary position is that of the State Council, China's government. The Premier almost always serves simultaneously as the Party Branch Secretary of the State Council (国务院党组书记). The State Council does not have a Party Committee.

References[edit]