Jiang in December 2002
Graduation photo of Jiang, taken in 1947.
Jiang in 1962
Jiang Zemin with U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1999.
Jiang Zemin with his wife and George W. Bush with his wife in Crawford, Texas, 25 October 2002.
Jiang Zemin's inscription engraved on a stone in his hometown, Yangzhou

As the involvement of the "Eight Elders" in Chinese politics steadily declined, Jiang consolidated his hold on power to become the "paramount leader" in the country during the 1990s.

- Jiang Zemin

The term has been used less frequently to describe Deng's successors, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping, who have all formally held the offices of General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (party leader), President of the People's Republic of China (head of state) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (commander-in-chief).

- Paramount leader
Jiang in December 2002

8 related topics

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Chinese Communist Party

Founding and sole ruling party of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Founding and sole ruling party of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Site of the first CCP Congress, in the former Shanghai French Concession
Flag of the HistoryChinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army
Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China on 1 October 1949.
Chinese communists celebrate Joseph Stalin's birthday, 1949.
A temporary monument displayed in Changsha, Hunan Province, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the CCP's founding
A monument dedicated to Karl Marx (left) and Friedrich Engels (right) in Shanghai
A billboard advertising Xi Jinping Thought in Shenzhen, Guangdong
The 18th National Congress, convened in November 2012
Front cover of the Constitution of the Chinese Communist Party
Xi Jinping (second from left) with Enrique Peña Nieto (second from right), the former President of Mexico and a leading member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party
Badge given to party members

Because of these posts, the party leader is seen as the country's paramount leader.

CCP general secretary Jiang Zemin succeeded Deng as paramount leader in the 1990s and continued most of his policies.

Deng Xiaoping at age 16, studying in France (1921)

Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping at age 16, studying in France (1921)
Deng's name is spelled Teng Hi Hien on this employment card from the Hutchinson shoe factory in Châlette-sur-Loing, France, where he worked on two occasions as seen from the dates, eight months in 1922 and again in 1923 when he was fired after one month, with the bottom annotation reading "refused to work, do not take him back"
Deng Xiaoping in NRA uniform, 1937
Deng with Liu Bocheng (right)
Deng Xiaoping with He Long (middle) and Zhu De (right) (1949)
Deng Xiaoping (left) met with the 14th Dalai Lama (right) in 1954
Deng Xiaoping (left) with future president Li Xiannian (center) and Premier Zhou Enlai in 1963
Deng Xiaoping (centre) with U.S. president Gerald Ford (left), 1975
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Deng Xiaoping (left) and his wife Zhuo Lin (right) are briefed by Johnson Space Center director Christopher C. Kraft (extreme right)
Deng Xiaoping billboard in Lizhi Park, Shenzhen, one of China's first special economic zones and is regarded as China's Silicon Valley
A model reconstruction of Deng Xiaoping's 1984 meeting with UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Shenzhen
A patrol boat in use during Deng Xiaoping's southern tour of 1992
Deng Xiaoping's ashes lie in state in Beijing whose banner reads "Memorial Service of Comrade Deng Xiaoping", February 1997
Statue of Deng Xiaoping in Shenzhen
Deng Xiaoping billboard in Shenzhen, Guangdong
Deng Xiaoping billboard in Qingdao, Shandong
Deng Xiaoping billboard in Dujiangyan, Sichuan
Deng Xiaoping billboard in Lijiang, Yunnan

Deng Xiaoping (22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997), also known by his courtesy name Xixian (希贤), was a Chinese revolutionary leader, military commander and statesman who served as the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from December 1978 to 1992.

Officially, Deng decided to retire from top positions when he stepped down as Chairman of the Central Military Commission in November 1989 and his successor Jiang Zemin became the new Chairman of Central Military Commission.

Hu in November 2011

Hu Jintao

Retired Chinese politician who served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 2002 to 2012, President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from 2003 to 2013, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) from 2004 to 2012.

Retired Chinese politician who served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 2002 to 2012, President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from 2003 to 2013, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) from 2004 to 2012.

Hu in November 2011
Hu's birthplace, Jiangyan, Jiangsu
Hu Jintao in 1960
Hu Jintao with Leaders of the BRICS countries, from left, Singh, Medvedev, Rousseff and Zuma in April 2011
Hu with George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush in Beijing, 10 August 2008
Hu talks with U.S. President Barack Obama at the 2009 Pittsburgh G-20 Summit

Hu was the paramount leader of China from 2004 to 2012.

He moved up to First Secretary of the CCP Central Secretariat and Vice-President under Jiang Zemin.

Xi Jinping

Chinese politician who has been serving as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) since 2012, and President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since 2013.

Chinese politician who has been serving as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) since 2012, and President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since 2013.

Xi Jinping greeting U.S. President George W. Bush in August 2008.
Xi Jinping with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on 28 September 2010.
Portrait of Xi in Beijing, September 2015
Holographic portraits of Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping in a shop in China
Xi giving a speech at the U.S. Department of State in 2012, with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then Vice-President Joe Biden in the background. Seated in the front row is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
BRICS leaders Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Dilma Rousseff, Xi Jinping and Jacob Zuma at the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, 15 November 2014
Xi with the first lady during the Moscow Victory Day Parade on 9 May 2015
Xi with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, 23 January 2016
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives in China, 8 November 2017
Xi in an official visit to Warsaw, where he and Poland's President Andrzej Duda signed a declaration on strategic partnership
Xi, who was on a four-day state visit to the UK, addressed both Houses of Parliament at Westminster, 21 October 2015
World leaders assemble for 'family photo' at G20 summit in Hamburg
Countries that signed cooperation documents related to the Belt and Road Initiative
According to the Qiushi, the Chinese Dream is about Chinese prosperity, collective effort, socialism, and national glory.
A billboard promoting Xi Jinping Thought in Shenzhen
The Governance of China in different languages presented at Shanghai Library
Hong Kong protesters throw eggs at Xi Jinping's portrait on National Day
Xi Jinping met with then-Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou in November 2015 in their capacity as the leader of mainland China and Taiwan respectively.
Xi Jinping, Peng Liyuan and U.S. President Barack Obama in the Lincoln Bedroom
Xi with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, 23 January 2016

Xi has been the paramount leader of China, the most prominent political leader in the People's Republic of China, since 2012.

In February 2000, he and then-provincial Party Secretary Chen Mingyi were called before the top members of PSC – General Secretary Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-President Hu Jintao and Discipline Inspection Secretary Wei Jianxing – to explain aspects of the Yuanhua scandal.

President of the People's Republic of China

Head of state of the People's Republic of China.

Head of state of the People's Republic of China.

Mao Zedong
Liu Shaoqi
Dong Biwu
Song Qingling
Li Xiannian President (18 June 1983 – 8 April 1988)
Yang Shangkun
Jiang Zemin President
Hu Jintao
Xi Jinping
Zhu De
Ye Jianying

However, as a matter of convention, the presidency is held simultaneously by the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, who also serves as the chairman of the Central Military Commission, thus is often the paramount leader of China.

When Jiang Zemin came into power and succeeded as Party General Secretary in 1989, the 747SPs were permanently returned to passenger service, and 747-400s were utilized.

Zhao (top left) pictured with Mao Zedong in Wuhan, January 1966

Zhao Ziyang

Chinese politician.

Chinese politician.

Zhao (top left) pictured with Mao Zedong in Wuhan, January 1966
Zhao was hosted by US president Ronald Reagan at the White House on 10 January 1984 as part of a broader effort to improve China's relations with the West.
No. 6 Fuqiang Hutong, where Zhao lived
Zhao Ziyang's final burial site in 2019, with his son on the right.

After ousting Hua Guofeng as China's "paramount leader" in 1978, Deng Xiaoping recognized the "Sichuan Experience" as a model for Chinese economic reform.

Following Zhao's dismissal, Jiang Zemin replaced Zhao as General Secretary of the CCP and successor of Deng Xiaoping.

Li in 1954

Li Xiannian

Chinese Communist military and political leader, President of the People's Republic of China (de jure head of state) from 1983 to 1988 under Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping and then Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 1988 until his death.

Chinese Communist military and political leader, President of the People's Republic of China (de jure head of state) from 1983 to 1988 under Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping and then Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 1988 until his death.

Li in 1954
Li in the People's Liberation Army during the Civil War (1946)
Li as Vice Premier in August 1974, visiting Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania
Li with his wife Lin Jiamei and Ronald Reagan (1985)

If Hua had been successful in his efforts to achieve supreme power, Li would have become one of the most powerful officials in China, but Li's political career stalled when Deng Xiaoping eclipsed Hua as China's "Paramount leader".

He was a strong supporter of Jiang Zemin's rise to power, and during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Li was one of the hardline Party elders who pushed for a strong response to the demonstrations and supported Premier Li Peng's desire to use military force to suppress the protests.

National Emblem of the People's Republic of China

Leadership core

Recognized as central to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

Recognized as central to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

National Emblem of the People's Republic of China

Four individuals so far have been given this designation: Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Xi Jinping.

The leadership core operates as part of the Leninist-inspired framework of democratic centralism, and is intended to represent a vital center rather than a hierarchical peak, which differentiates it from the role of paramount leader.