China Leadership Monitor

A Biographical and Factional Analysis of the Post-2012 Politburo

Thursday, June 6, 2013

This essay assesses the new Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party—the 25 highest-ranking leaders in the party, government, and military in present-day China—using biographical data regarding age, gender, birthplace, educational and occupational credentials, bureaucratic portfolio and career patterns, and political affiliations and factional backgrounds. Norms of elite selection may be inferred from such data, which allows a broad-based quantitative and qualitative analysis of the changes in the top leadership. Findings include the ascendancy of leaders with experience as provincial party secretaries, the swift decline of technocrats, and the appearance of a new form of the factional balance of power. The essay concludes with a preview of the leading contenders for the next Politburo and its supreme Standing Committee.