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.

- Xi Jinping

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

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Alpha

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.

The current leader is Xi Jinping, who was elected at the 18th National Congress held on 15 November 2012, and retained his position at the 19th National Congress held on 25 October 2017.

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.

The current president is Xi Jinping, who took office in March 2013, replacing Hu Jintao.

Jiang in December 2002

Jiang Zemin

Chinese retired politician who served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2002, as Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2004, and as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003.

Chinese retired politician who served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2002, as Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2004, and as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003.

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.

At the banquet he sat next to Xi Jinping, who had then succeeded Hu Jintao as party CCP General Secretary.

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 was succeeded by Xi Jinping.

General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party

The general secretary of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party is the paramount leader of China.

The position of general secretary is the highest authority leading China's National People's Congress, State Council, Political Consultative Conference, Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate in Xi Jinping's administration.

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.

6th Paramount leader Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping Administration

6th Paramount leader Xi Jinping

The Xi Jinping Administration of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), officially called the "CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary" between 2012 and 2016, and "CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core" since 2016, has been said to begin after the progressive accumulation of power by Xi Jinping, who succeeded Hu Jintao as CCP General Secretary and Paramount leader in 2012 and later in 2016 was proclaimed the Party's 4th leadership core, following only Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin.

Cover of the current constitution

Constitution of the People's Republic of China

Nominally the supreme law of the People's Republic of China.

Nominally the supreme law of the People's Republic of China.

Cover of the current constitution

Chinese leader Hu Jintao said that "These amendments of the Chinese constitution are of great importance to the development of China [...] We will make serious efforts to carry them out in practice."

It includes an assortment of revisions that further cement the Communist Party's control and supremacy, including setting up the National Supervisory Commission, establishing a new anti-graft agency, extending the powers of the Communist Party's graft watchdog, adding Hu Jintao's Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought to the Preamble of the Constitution, and removing term limits for both the President and Vice President, enabling Xi Jinping to remain president indefinitely.