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The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (Chinese: 中国共产党中央委员会; pinyin: Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng Zhōngyāng Wěiyuánhuì), formerly as Central Executive Committee (中央执行委员会; Zhongyang Zhixing Weiyuanhui) before 1927, is the highest authority within the Communist Party of China elected by the Party National Congresses. The Central Committee has about 300 members and nominally appoints the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.



Twelve voting delegates out of 53 participants were seated at the 1st National Party Congress in 1921, and at the 2nd in 1922, when they represented 195 party members. By 1923, the 420 members were represented by 30 delegates. The 1925 4th Congress had 20 delegates representing 994 members, and then real growth kicked in. The 5th Congress, held in April-May 1927 as the KMT was slaughtering communists, comprised 80 voting delegates representing 57,967 members.

It was at the 1928 6th Congress that the now-familiar ‘full’ and ‘alternate’ structure originated, with 84 and 34 delegates, respectively. Membership was estimated at 40,000. In 1945, the 7th Congress had 547 full and 208 alternate delegates representing 1.21 million members, a ratio of one representative per 1,600 members as compared to 1:725 in 1927.

Post-liberation, participation at National Party Congresses became much less representative. Each of the 1026 full and 107 alternate members represented 9,470 party members (10.73 million in total) at the 1956 8th Congress. Subsequent congresses held the number of participants down despite membership growing to more than 60 million by 2000.[1]

Function and Structure

While the Central Committee does not exercise authority as a corporate body in the same way that a legislature would, it is an important body in that it contains the leading figures of the party, state, and army. In contrast to Party Congresses, which have always been ceremonial, full meetings of the Central Committee have been on occasion arenas in which there are real debates and decisions on party policy. An example of this was the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978, at which China formally embarked on a project of Chinese economic reform. The Central Committee is larger and has a somewhat more diverse ideological spectrum than the Politburo.

Some analysts have suggested that as part of his effort to increase intra-party democracy that Hu Jintao intends to increase the power held by the Central Committee. Two significant acts taken by Hu have been the cancellation of the traditional August leadership conference at Beidaihe, and the comparative large amount of public coverage given to the plenary Central Committee meeting in October 2003.


  1. ^ Press center of the 17th CPC National Congress

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