List of Presidents of the People's Republic of China

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To avoid confusion, all the names on this list follow the Eastern order convention (family name first, personal name second) for consistency.
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This is a list of the Presidents and other heads of state of the People's Republic of China.

The office, called 国家主席 (Guójiā Zhǔxí) in Chinese, was created in 1954 when the 1st Constitution consolidated the system of government in the People's Republic of China. At the time, the title was translated into English as State Chairman. The position was abolished between 1975 and 1982 with the functions of head of state being performed by the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The presidency was revived under the fourth constitution in 1982.

List[edit]

Generations of leadership

  First Administration   Second Administration   Third Administration   Hu–Wen Administration   Xi–Li Administration

Central People's Government (1949–1954)[edit]

Chairman of the Central People's Government
Portrait Name
(Lifespan)
Term of office Vice Chairmen Paramount leader
Mao Zedong 1963.jpg Mao Zedong
毛泽东
(1893–1976)
1 October 1949 27 September 1954 Zhu De
Liu Shaoqi
Soong Ching-ling
Li Jishen
Zhang Lan
Gao Gang
Himself
Mao also held more powerful offices as Chairman of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making him the Paramount leader of China.

The 1st Constitution (1954–1975)[edit]

Chairman of the People's Republic of China
Portrait Name
(Lifespan)
Constituency
Term of office NPC Vice Chairmen Paramount leader
1 Mao Zedong 1963.jpg Mao Zedong
毛泽东
(1893–1976)
Beijing At-large
27 September 1954 27 April 1959 I Zhu De Mao Zedong
2
(2,3)
LiuShaoqi Colour.jpg Liu Shaoqi
刘少奇
(1898–1969)
Beijing At-large
27 April 1959 3 January 1965 II Soong Ching-ling
Dong Biwu
2 January 1965[1] 31 October 1968[2] III

(3)
DONGBIWU.JPG Dong Biwu
董必武
(1886–1975)
Hubei At-large
31 October 1968 17 January 1975 III Vacant

The 2nd and 3rd Constitutions (1975–1982)[edit]

Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
Portrait Name
(Lifespan)
Constituency
Term of office NPC Vice Chairmen Paramount leader

(4)
Zhu De.jpg Zhu De
朱德
(1886–1976)
Sichuan At-large
17 January 1975 6 July 1976 IV Soong Ching-ling[3]
Dong Biwu[3] (died 2 April 1975)
and others
Mao Zedong

(4)
Soong Ching-ling 1937.jpg Soong Ching-ling
宋庆龄
(1893–1981)
Shanghai At-large
6 July 1976 5 March 1978 IV Mao Zedong
Hua Guofeng
After Zhu De's death, Soong Ching-ling served as acting Chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the remainder of the 4th National People's Congress's term.[citation needed] She is a member of Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang.

(5)
Ye Jianying.jpg Ye Jianying
叶剑英
(1897–1986)
PLA
5 March 1978 18 June 1983 V Soong Ching-ling
and others
Hua Guofeng
Deng Xiaoping
Honorary Chairwoman of the People's Republic of China
Portrait Name
(Birth–Death)
Constituency
Term of office NPC Notes
Soong Ching-ling 1937.jpg Soong Ching-ling
宋庆龄
(1893–1981)
Shanghai At-large
16 May 1981 28 May 1981 V Shortly before her death, Soong Ching-ling,a member of Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang was named Honorary Chairwoman of the People's Republic of China.

The 4th Constitution (1983–present)[edit]

President of the People's Republic of China
Portrait Name
(Lifespan)
Constituency
Term of office NPC - (Election) Vice President Paramount leader
3 Li Xiannian - 1974.jpg Li Xiannian
李先念
(1909–1992)
Hubei At-large
18 June 1983 8 April 1988 VI - (62.5%) Ulanhu Deng Xiaoping
During Li's term, China undertook major reforms in foreign policy began opening to the outside world. Li, who took on an important role in the ouster of the Gang of Four, became the first President of the People's Republic to visit the United States. He was also the first state president to visit North Korea. In 1984, Li met with U.S. President Ronald Reagan during Reagan's visit to China, notably discussing the status of Taiwan with the President. After leaving office as President, Li was then named Chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC.[4]
4 YangShangkun1958.png Yang Shangkun
杨尚昆
(1907–1998)
PLA
9 April 1988 27 March 1993 VII - (66.8%) Wang Zhen Deng Xiaoping
An elder from the party's revolutionary days, Yang was a political survivor of the Cultural Revolution. During his presidency, Yang promoted economic reform but opposed political liberalization. Yang reached the height of his political career after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, but his organized opposition to Jiang Zemin's leadership led Deng to force Yang to retire. Yang served as Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission between 1983 and 1993.
5 Jiang Zemin at Hickam Air Base, October 26, 1997, cropped.jpg Jiang Zemin
江泽民
(born 1926)
Shanghai At-large
27 March 1993 15 March 1998 VIII - (68.4%) Rong Yiren Himself
15 March 1998 15 March 2003 IX - (71.5%) Hu Jintao Himself
Once the mayor and party chief of Shanghai, Jiang's assumption of the presidency in 1993 marked a return to the centralization of major titles at the national level – Jiang also held more powerful offices as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. Under Jiang's leadership, China experienced substantial developmental growth with reforms, saw the peaceful return of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom and Macau from Portugal, and improved its relations with the outside world while the Communist Party maintained its tight control over the government. Jiang was criticized for being too concerned about his personal image at home, and too conciliatory towards Russia and the United States abroad.[5]
6 Hu Jintao Cannes2011.jpg Hu Jintao
胡锦涛
(born 1942)
Tibet At-large (until 2008)
Jiangsu At-large (from 2008)
15 March 2003 15 March 2008 X - (72.9%) Zeng Qinghong Himself
15 March 2008 14 March 2013 XI - (70.27%) Xi Jinping Himself
Hu, long having been anointed by Deng as Jiang's successor, took over the presidency in 2003, and also held the offices of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. Hu presided over nearly a decade of consistent economic growth and a relatively smooth recovery from the Global Financial Crisis. China emerged as a major world power during Hu's term, as China began taking on a more prominent role globally, such as at the G20 and global efforts at combating climate change. Hu's chief domestic focus was building a more egalitarian society focused on improving living standards for disadvantaged populations.[6] During Hu's tenure, China's influence in Africa, Latin America, and other developing countries increased.[7]
7 Xi Jinping March 2017.jpg Xi Jinping
习近平
(born 1953)
Shanghai At-large
14 March 2013 17 March 2018 XII - (72.21%) Li Yuanchao Himself
17 March 2018 Incumbent XIII - (99.43%) Wang Qishan Himself
Xi became President in 2013, and also held the offices of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi increased the profile of the office of president in foreign affairs, for example receiving other heads of state during the 2015 China Victory Day Parade, going on high-profile visits to the United Kingdom and the United States, and making an important address at the Global Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Term limits for the president were removed in 2018.

Timeline[edit]

 
P. of C.Gov
President of China
Acting Presidents
Abolished in law
Honorary President
Restored
1949.83
1959.83
1969.83
1979.83
1989.83
1999.83
2009.83

Living former presidents[edit]

As of September 2018, there are two living former presidents:

President Term of office Date of birth
Jiang Zemin 1993–2003 (1926-08-17) August 17, 1926 (age 92)
Hu Jintao 2003–2013 (1942-12-21) December 21, 1942 (age 75)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National People's Congress Notice 1". People's Daily. 3 January 1965. Archived from the original on 30 January 2014. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  2. ^ "Communique of the expanded 12th plenary session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China". People's Daily Online. 3 January 1965. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  3. ^ a b Sheng (盛), Yonghua (永華) (2006). Chronological Biography of Soong Ching-ling, 1893-1981 [宋慶齡年譜 1893-1981], in Chinese. Guangzhou: Guangdong People's Publishing [廣東人民出版社]. p. 2:1799. ISBN 7218052649. 
  4. ^ Anderson, Kurt (7 May 1984). "History Beckons Again". Time. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Tomoyuki Kojima. China's Omnidirectional Diplomacy: Cooperation with all, Emphasis on Major Powers. Asia-Pacific Review, 1469–2937, Volume 8, Issue 2, 2001
  6. ^ "Kuhn, Robert Lawrence: Hu's Political Philosophies" (PDF). Esnips.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2010. 
  7. ^ World Savvy Monitor: China and the World - A foreign policy overview[permanent dead link]

See also[edit]