Liu Yunshan

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Liu.
Liu Yunshan
First-ranked Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China
Assumed office
15 November 2012
General Secretary Xi Jinping
Preceded by Xi Jinping
President of the Central Party School
Assumed office
15 January 2013
Deputy He Yiting
Preceded by Xi Jinping
Chairman of the CPC Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization
Assumed office
18 January 2013
Deputy Liu Yandong
Liu Qibao
Preceded by Li Changchun
Head of Central Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China
In office
24 October 2002 – 21 November 2012
Deputy Ji Bingxuan (2003–2008)
Luo Shugang (2008–2012)
General Secretary Hu Jintao
Preceded by Ding Guangen
Succeeded by Liu Qibao
Personal details
Born July 1947 (age 68)
Tumed Right Banner, Inner Mongolia
Political party Communist Party of China
Alma mater Jining Teachers College

Liu Yunshan (simplified Chinese: 刘云山; traditional Chinese: 劉雲山; pinyin: Liú Yúnshān; born July 1947) is one of the top leaders of the Communist Party of China, and a current member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the de facto top decision-making body of China.

Liu currently holds a number of important offices in the national leadership of the Communist Party, including that of the first-ranked Secretary of the Secretariat, Chairman of the Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization, leader of the Propaganda and Ideology Leading Group and President of the Central Party School.[1] He is generally seen as the top official in charge of ideology, propaganda work, and party organization.

Liu built his career in Inner Mongolia, working initially as a teacher, then a Xinhua reporter, before entering the Communist Youth League and Inner Mongolia party propaganda department. He had a short stint working as the Party Secretary of the city of Chifeng, in Inner Mongolia. Between 2002 and 2012, Liu served as the head of the Central Propaganda Department.

Early life; Inner Mongolia[edit]

Liu was born to an ordinary family of farmers in Tumed Right Banner in Inner Mongolia; he traces his ancestry to Xinzhou, Shanxi province.[2] He spent over twenty years of his career in Inner Mongolia. He joined the Communist Party in 1971. He initially worked as a teacher, then was "sent down" to do manual labour in the countryside as part of the Cultural Revolution.

He attended college part-time at the Jining Teachers College in Ulanqab League, Inner Mongolia. He then worked in the local propaganda department of Tumed Right Banner. He became a Xinhua reporter in 1975, and was eventually promoted to a supervisory role. He then worked for the provincial Communist Youth League organization. In 1986, Liu became the Inner Mongolia party organization's director of propaganda in 1986, and by 1987, the Secretary-General of the Inner Mongolia party committee, a position in charge of coordination the execution of party policy.[3]

Between 1989 and 1992 Liu attended the Central Party School to take courses in public administration. In 1991, he became Party Secretary of the eastern Inner Mongolian city of Chifeng while also holding a seat on the Autonomous Region's Party Standing Committee, making him one of the most powerful officials in Inner Mongolia at the time. Between 1993 and 2002 he worked in Beijing as the deputy head of the Central Propaganda Department as a deputy to Ding Guangen.[3]

Politburo career[edit]

In 2002, at the 16th Party Congress, Liu became the head of the Central Propaganda Department. Although he also gained a seat on the Politburo at the same time, the overall direction of ideology and propaganda work was 'supervised' by Standing Committee member Li Changchun; thus Liu was, for all intents and purposes, not the top propaganda official in China at the time. Liu also became a Secretary of the Secretariat. He was also a member of the 17th Politburo of the Communist Party of China.

After the 18th Party Congress in November 2012, Liu was elected to both the 18th Politburo and its Standing Committee. Liu accumulated a number of high-level positions in addition to his role of overseeing propaganda, including the top spot in the Secretariat, which was formerly held by Xi Jinping, who became General Secretary, i.e., party leader. Liu, considered a censorship hard-liner, was seen as a staunchly conservative member of the Standing Committee who religiously upheld party orthodoxy.[4] Previously, the top position of the Secretariat and the leading post for propaganda were held by separate people.[N 1] That Liu Yunshan took on both portfolios was arguably an indication of the breadth of his power. In 2013, Liu was named one of three deputy leaders of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms.

Following the 18th Party Congress, Liu also emerged as the main official in charge of party organization and personnel, as well as the leading official in charge of propagating the so-called "mass line" education in the party as well as "party building". During the Xi Jinping administration's crackdown on corruption, which began in 2013, Liu acted as the top official attending the leadership transition meeting in the aftermath of the political 'earthquake' in Shanxi province which saw the removal of a large number of top provincial leaders. That a Standing Committee member attended the 'transition meeting' was regarded as extremely unusual, as generally the central authorities in Beijing would dispatch the head of the Organization Department to such an event.[5]

In May 2015, Liu penned an article on Study Times in which he criticized that political culture in the Communist Party must not become too "lax and flexible" and that party members must resolutely follow party rules. Some commentators saw the remarks as implicitly critical of star television host Bi Fujian, who made some comments critical of Mao which surfaced on an online video.[6]

Liu led the Chinese delegation on a visit to North Korea in 2015, and met with Workers' Party first secretary Kim Jong-un; Liu delivered a personal letter from Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping to Kim Jong-un. Liu and Kim embraced in front of cameras in a show of camaraderie. Liu also accompanied the North Korean leader in watching the military parade marking the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea.[7]

Liu is expected to retire at the 19th Party Congress in 2017 due to informally mandated retirement age rules, which stipulates that any official 68 years of age or older during a year in which the Party Congress is held must retire.


Liu Yunshan has been subject to criticism by the writer Tie Liu, whose work has been published by the Independent Chinese PEN Center. In an essay entitled We must Account for Liu Yunshan's Crimes Against Reform, Tie Liu wrote, "Liu Yunshan was the mastermind behind the corruption of China's media organs. He is the arch-nemesis of the path to reform in China, and the biggest opponent of the administration of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang." Tie Liu also alleged that Liu Yunshan was "morally depraved", and was a supporter of the "Bo Xilai-Zhou Yongkang clique", alluding to Liu as one of China's foremost leftists ("leftists" can also be understood as "Maoists"). Tie Liu also wrote, "for over a decade, with publishing and television all under Liu Yunshan's control, there hasn't been a single newspaper reporting the truth, not a single book that could stand on its feet, and not a single good movie or television series."[8] In the same essay, Tie Liu voiced support for other leaders, such as Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Wang Qishan.[9]


Liu is married to Li Sufang (李素芳), who worked at the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Liu and his wife had two sons, Liu Lefei (刘乐飞) and Liu Leting (刘乐亭). Liu Lefei was, as of 2014, the vice-chairman of CITIC Securities.[10]


  1. ^ At the 16th Party Congress in 2002, Zeng Qinghong held the first-ranked Secretariat position, while Li Changchun was the propaganda chief; at the 17th Party Congress in 2007, Li retained his position, but Xi Jinping became first-ranked Secretary of the Secretariat.
  1. ^ "Liu Yunshan sworn in as president of Central Party School". Want China Times. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "“接地气才能有底气”——记中共中央政治局常委刘云山". Xinhua. December 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Li, Cheng (October 2012). "China’s Top Future Leaders to Watch: Biographical Sketches of Possible Members of the Post-2012 Politburo (Part 2)" (PDF). 
  4. ^ "Xi questions propaganda chief’s handling of censorship row". Asashi Shimbun. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Cheng, Yi (September 1, 2014). "常委刘云山坐镇山西换帅 高规格交接藏玄机". Duowei News. 
  6. ^ "炮打毕福剑 刘云山发威". May 18, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Message From China’s Leader, Xi Jinping, to North Korea May Signal Thaw". October 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ Original in Chinese written by Tie Liu read: 近十多年来中国新闻出版与电视在刘云山控管与操纵下,沒有一张说实話言真相的报纸,也沒有一本立得住足的好书,更没有一部好电影好电视剧。
  9. ^ "81岁高龄右派作家铁流昨日被捕 因痛斥刘云山文章惹祸". Independent Chinese PEN Center. August 28, 2014. 
  10. ^ "现任常委中最腐败,刘云山家族贪腐大起底". Boxun. May 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ding Guangen
Head of the Propaganda Department of the CPC Central Committee
2002 – 2012
Succeeded by
Liu Qibao
Preceded by
Xi Jinping
First-ranked Secretary of
the Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China

Leader of the Central Leading Group for Party Building
Preceded by
Li Changchun
Chairman of the CPC Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilization
Leader of the Central Leading Group for Propaganda and Ideological Work
Academic offices
Preceded by
Xi Jinping
President of the Central Party School