Introduction to 17th Party Congress List
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will begin its 17th National Party Congress
October 15, and it is expected to last 7 days. Every five years, the CCP has a meeting
of the National Party Congress, bringing together representatives from across the
country in order to discuss leadership changes and chart a course for China¡¯s
economic, political and security policies.
The National Party Congress long has generated much interest in U.S. political and
academic circles. The U.S.©\China Policy Foundation (USCPF) regularly receives inquires
from all fields requesting further information on issues related to China¡¯s leadership.
Over the last couple months, the research staff at the USCPF has worked to compile a
list of 70©\plus names in an effort to identify the most important participating Party
Congress representatives and those most likely to continue in positions of leadership
at the conclusion of the Party Congress later this month.
History of the Party Congress
In July 1921, Mao Zedong founded the Chinese Communist Party with just 12 to 13
members when he convened the first Party Congress at Shanghai¡¯s French
Concession. Since then, the number of party members has swelled to more than 73
million. While many outsiders worldwide, including foreign leaders and scholars, feel
it is a one©\man dominated system, this is no longer the case. With such a large
political machine, it is difficult for any one individual to govern effectively, and the
Party Congress provides the provincial, ministerial and central leaders an important
and necessary opportunity to collectively determine China¡¯s future.
The Central Committee is made up of more than 170 members with more than 150
alternates. These representatives are not handpicked by the top Chinese leaders but
instead are supported by other representatives at the provincial and ministerial levels.
From the Central Committee, 20©\plus members are chosen to make up the Politburo.
From those Politburo members, nine are chosen to participate in the Central
Standing Committee (though this number fluctuates). While we continue to learn
more about governing procedures in China, the decision©\making process remains far
less transparent. Based on our research from open©\source materials from China,
Hong Kong and the United States, we have outlined a few important trends that
probably will continue and several likely outcomes from this month¡¯s meetings.
The first trend is the increased participation of women in the National People¡¯s
Congress. This year, 455 of the 2,217 representatives are women, 63 more than the
last Congress. Additionally, we expect more to be elected at the central and
provincial levels and to be responsible for handling a broader range of issues,
including legal and financial matters.
Also on the rise is the participation of younger CCP members. Today¡¯s Chinese leaders
were born post©\1950, after the founding of the PRC. Leaders from the first generation,
those who participated in the Long March, since have passed away. Founding
member Bo Yibo, the first finance minister and the last of the 1st generation CCP
members, died earlier this year. Furthermore, those from the second and third
generations are increasingly difficult to find as China¡¯s fourth generation establishes
A final trend, and perhaps one of the most important, is our ability to distinguish
with some certainty which senior members from various organizations and
think©\tanks now serve as specialized advisors to President Hu and other senior
During the 17th Party Congress, the composition of the Standing Committee and the
Politburo will change. According to our research, the number of Politburo members
most likely will increase. Though it is virtually impossible to say for sure until the end
of the Congress, it appears Secretary General Hu Jintao will maintain or reduce the
current size of the Standing Committee (from nine to seven members).
A second likely development is the change in economic leadership with the
anticipated retirement of Vice Premier Wu Yi. Known as the Iron Lady, Madame Wu
has proven to be a most capable economic policymaker. Though we can not
speculate as to whom will take her position, it¡¯s unlikely the new vice premier will be
as skilled a negotiator as Madame Wu.
Several other probable outcomes from this month¡¯s Party Congress include the
continuation of Hu Jintao as Party Secretary General and Wen Jiabao as Premier.
Several others also likely will continue in their positions as part of the Central
Standing Committee, including Wu Bangguo, NPC Chairman; Li Changchun, standing
committee member; and Jia Qinglin, President of China¡¯s National Political
Four current standing committee members likely will retire this year. Whether Hu
Jintao chooses to maintain or reduce the number of standing committee members
will dictate how many ultimately are added. Possible new members of the Standing
Committee include Mr. Xi Jinping, Party Secretary of Shanghai City Government; Mr.
Li Keqiang, Party Secretary of Liaoning Province; Mr. Zhou Yongkang, Minister of
Public Security; Mr. Li Yuanchao, Provincial Party Secretary of Jiangsu; and Mr. Yu
Zhengsheng, Party Secretary of Hubei.
The attached list was prepared by the USCPF research staff and includes bios for
more than 70 of the 2,217 Party Congress participants. Because we are unable to
produce an exhaustive list with bios for all participants, we narrowed our selection
based on representatives¡¯ current positions and the likelihood they will continue in
positions of leadership. All of the information here was gathered from open sources,
particularly from China and Hong Kong as well as from Western media outlets.
We hope this list will be useful to those interested in the current and future
developments of the Chinese Communist Party.