The Shanghai clique (simplified Chinese: 上海帮; traditional Chinese: 上海幫; pinyin: Shànghǎi bāng) is the name given to an informal group of officials in the Communist Party of China, especially those who serve in the Central Committee or the Central Government of China, who rose to prominence in connection to the Shanghai municipal administration under former CPC General Secretary Jiang Zemin.
This popular phrase was used somewhat pejoratively to describe Jiang's efforts to promote people who previously worked, or were associated with, his administration in Shanghai. It is more appropriately referred to as the "Jiang clique".
These members have been commonly identified as part of the Shanghai clique and have all served for part of their careers in Shanghai; they are listed in rough order of importance:
- Jiang Zemin (江泽民), former General Secretary of the Communist Party
- Zeng Qinghong (曾庆红)
- Jia Qinglin (贾庆林)
- Huang Ju (黄菊), died in office
- Wu Bangguo (吴邦国)
- Chen Liangyu (陈良宇), expelled from Communist Party due to scandal
- Chen Zhili (陈至立)
- Jia Ting'an (贾廷安)
Zhu Rongji, Meng Jianzhu, and Han Zheng also at one point in their careers served in prominent positions in Shanghai, however they were not commonly associated with Jiang and thus were usually not named as part of the Shanghai clique.
The following individuals owe part of their career advancement to personal support from Jiang; they are listed in rough order of how often they are associated as being part of Jiang's inner circle:
- Li Changchun (李长春)
- Zhou Yongkang (周永康)
- Zhang Dejiang (张德江)
- Zeng Peiyan (曾培炎)
- Hui Liangyu (回良玉)
- Liu Qi (刘琪)
- Hua Jianmin (华建敏)
- Wu Guanzheng (吴官正)
Upon Jiang's retirement in 2004, it was widely believed that he stuffed the Politburo Standing Committee with his 'own men', and was making it difficult for Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao to carry out their own policies. Evidence for this theory included the 5th Plenary Meeting of 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, when Hu's efforts to reshuffle the Politburo was blocked by members of the Shanghai Clique. Wen's macro-economic measures aimed at slowing down infrastructure growth and nationwide overheating in the property sector received great resistance from alleged members of this clique.
However, as Jiang had retired from all of his positions at the 4th Plenary Meeting of 16th National Congress of the CPC, Hu Jintao became the legitimate General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. There are signs of important members of the Shanghai Clique defecting to Hu's camp, thereby strengthening Hu's position. In addition, in a bold move in September 2006, Hu acted to purge prominent rival Chen Liangyu, former Communist Party Secretary and Mayor of Shanghai, for alleged corruption, thus strengthening his position both within the party and in China.
After Hu left office in 2012, the influence of the Shanghai clique was no longer a visible feature of the Chinese political landscape.