Leaders of Communist China Throughout the Years

Mao Zedong, the most famous of all Chinese communist leaders.
Mao Zedong, the most famous of all Chinese communist leaders.

The Communist Party of China is the founding party of the People’s Republic of China and the sole ruling party in China. The party was founded in 1921 by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The highest governing body is the National Congress which is convened every fifth year and the Central Committee when National Congress is not in session. The highest ranking official of the party is the General Secretary. Previously, the post of chairman which has since been abolished was the most powerful. This article explores some of the leaders of CPC, their achievements, and criticism.

Some of the Famous Leaders of Communist China

Chen Duxiu

Born in 1879, Chen Duxiu spent his early life in Anqing and moved to Nanjing in 1902 then to Japan the same year. He became an outspoken writer and critic of the Qing government. Chen co-founded the Chinese Communist Party alongside Li Dazhao in 1921 after a diligent study of the Marxist theories and served as its first General Secretary from 1921 to 1927. As the leader of the CCP, he developed cooperation with other Communist Movements which proved to be detrimental to the party. The party formed alliance with the National Party in 1922. However, Chen was dissatisfied with the collaboration. He resigned as the General Secretary in 1927 due to his dissatisfaction with the Comintern order in the April 12 Incident (Shanghai massacre of 1927) in which thousands of Communists died. He was expelled from the party two years later. Chen later retired to Jiangjin where he died in 1942.

Xiang Zhongfa

Xiang Zhongfa was born in 1879 in Hubei where he became an apprentice in a weapon factory at the age of 14. When the factory closed, he transferred to a ship of Han Zhiping where he was elected union leader. He joined the CPC in 1921. During the CCP-KMT conflict, Xiang directly expressed his dissatisfaction as opposed to Chen who had a compromising attitude. When Chen was fired in 1927, Xiang was appointed as an interim executive member of CCP. He relocated to Shanghai from Moscow to oversee the operations of CCP and appointed Li Lisana to handle conflicts within the party. During his reign, the work of CCP changed from city to city, thus, weakening the party. He also adopted a luxurious life and lost confidence in the revolution. He was arrested by KMT in 1931 and later executed. He is considered a disgrace in the history of CCP.

Mao Zedong

Chairman Mao was the longest-serving leader of the CPC. He was the founding father of the People’s Republic of China. Mao served as the chairman of the CPC from the founding of PRC in 1949 until his death in 1976. He solidified his control of the party and the new found republic through land reforms and psychological victory in the Korean War. He initiated several reforms and movements including the campaign against landlords, the Great Leap Forward, and Cultural Revolution. His supporters credit him for driving imperialism out of China and modernizing the country. His theories are collectively known as Maoism. He died on September 9, 1976, from a heart attack.

Xi Jinping

Xi Jiqing is the current General Secretary of the CPC and the president of PRC. He has been the leader of the Communist Party since November 2012 and is the first General Secretary to be born after the World War II. Since he assumed office, he has introduced measures to enforce party disciplines. His anti-corruption campaign has led to the fall of several prominent people in the country. He has also centralized institutional powers, chairing almost all-powerful committees.

Upholding the CPC Ideals

The Communist party is still committed to the ideals of communism and still takes part in the meetings and activities of Communists and Workers. It adheres to Maoism, Marxist-Leninism, and Deng Xiaoping Theory. The leaders, especially the General Secretary, play a key role in promoting ideas and activities of the Communist Party.

Leaders of Communist China Throughout the Years

RankLeader Years Active
1Chen Duxiu1921-1927
2Xiang Zhongfa 1927-1931
3Bo Gu 1931-1935
4Zhang Wentian 1935-1943
5Mao Zedong1945-1976
6Hua Guofeng1976-1981
7Hu Yaobang1981-1987
8Zhao Ziyang1987-1989
9Jiang Zemin1989-2002
10Hu Jintao2002-2012
11Xi Jinping2012-

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