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List of Presidents of the People's Republic of China

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Title: List of Presidents of the People's Republic of China  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of Chinese leaders, Li Xiannian, Politics of China, Xi Jinping, Administrative divisions of China
Collection: Lists of Political Office-Holders in China, Lists of Presidents, Presidents of the People's Republic of China
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of Presidents of the People's Republic of China

To avoid confusion, all the names on this list follow the Eastern order convention (family name first, personal name second) for consistency.

This is a list of the Presidents and other heads of state of the People's Republic of China.

The office, called 国家主席 (Guójiā Zhǔxí) in Chinese, was created in 1954 when the 1st Constitution consolidated the system of government in the People's Republic of China. At the time, the title was translated into English as State Chairman. The position was abolished between 1975 and 1982 with the functions of head of state being performed by the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The presidency was revived under the fourth constitution in 1982.


  • List 1
    • Central People's Government (1949–1954) 1.1
    • The 1st Constitution (1954–1975) 1.2
    • The 2nd and 3rd Constitution (1975–1982) 1.3
    • The 4th Constitution (1983–present) 1.4
  • Living Former Presidents 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


Generations of leadership

      First Administration       Second Administration       Third Administration       Hu–Wen Administration       Xi–Li Administration

Central People's Government (1949–1954)

Chairman of the Central People's Government
Portrait Name
Term of office Vice Chairmen
Mao Zedong
1 October 1949 27 September 1954 Zhu De
Liu Shaoqi
Song Qingling
Li Jishen
Zhang Lan
Gao Gang

The 1st Constitution (1954–1975)

Chairman of the People's Republic of China
Portrait Name
Term of office NPC Vice Chairmen
1 Mao Zedong
Beijing At-large
27 September 1954 27 April 1959 I Zhu De
2 Liu Shaoqi
Beijing At-large
27 April 1959 3 January 1965 II Song Qingling
Dong Biwu
2 January 1965[1] 31 October 1968[2] III
Dong Biwu
Hubei At-large
24 February 1972 17 January 1975 III Vacancy by ascension

The 2nd and 3rd Constitution (1975–1982)

Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
Portrait Name
Term of office NPC Vice Chairmen
Zhu De
Sichuan At-large
17 January 1975 6 July 1976 IV Song Qingling[3]
Dong Biwu[3] (died 2 April 1975)
and others
Song Qingling
Shanghai At-large
6 July 1976 5 March 1978 IV
After Zhu De's death, Song Qingling served as acting Chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the remainder of the 4th National People's Congress's term.
Ye Jianying
5 March 1978 18 June 1983 V Song Qingling
and others
Honorary President of the People's Republic of China
Portrait Name
Term of office NPC Notes
Song Qingling
Shanghai At-large
16 May 1981 28 May 1981 V Shortly before her death, Song Qingling was named Honorary President of the People's Republic of China.

The 4th Constitution (1983–present)

President of the People's Republic of China
Portrait Name
Term of office NPC - (Election) Vice President
3 Li Xiannian
Hubei At-large
18 June 1983 8 April 1988 VI - (62.5%) Ulanhu
He started reforms in foreign policy and China began opening to the world. He was first Chinese president who visited USA. He was also the first state president who officially visited North Korea. In 1984, Li met with US President Ronald Reagan during Reagan's visit to China, notably discussing the status of Taiwan with the President. In 1988, Li resigned from his position as President of the People's Republic of China and was replaced by Yang Shangkun. Li was then named Chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC.[4]
4 Yang Shangkun
8 April 1988 27 March 1993 VII - (66.8%) Wang Zhen
Yang promoted economic reform but opposed political liberalization, a position which Jiang Zemin's leadership led Deng to force Yang to retire.
5 Jiang Zemin
(born 1926)
Shanghai At-large
27 March 1993 15 March 1998 VIII - (68.4%) Rong Yiren
15 March 1998 15 March 2003 IX - (71.5%) Hu Jintao
Under his leadership, China experienced substantial developmental growth with reforms, saw the peaceful return of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom and Macau from Portugal, and improved its relations with the outside world while the Communist Party maintained its tight control over the government. Jiang has been criticized for being too concerned about his personal image at home, and too conciliatory towards Russia and the United States abroad.[5] Served as Mayor of Shanghai (1985–1989), Chairman of the Central Military Commission of China (1990–2005)
6 Hu Jintao
(born 1942)
Tibet At-large (until 2008)
Jiangsu At-large (from 2008)
15 March 2003 15 March 2008 X - (72.9%) Zeng Qinghong
15 March 2008 14 March 2013 XI - (70.27%) Xi Jinping
During his term in office, Hu reintroduced state control in some sectors of the economy that were relaxed by the previous administration, and has been conservative with political reforms.[6] Along with his colleague, Premier Wen Jiabao, Hu presided over nearly a decade of consistent economic growth and development that cemented China as a major world power. He sought to improve socio-economic equality domestically through the Scientific Development Concept, which aimed to build a "Socialist Harmonious Society" that was prosperous and free of social conflict.[7] In foreign policy, Hu advocated for "China's peaceful development", pursuing soft power in international relations and a business-oriented approach to diplomacy. Through Hu's tenure, China's influence in Africa, Latin America, and other developing countries has increased.[8] Served as Vice President (1998–2003)
7 Xi Jinping
(born 1953)
Shanghai At-large
14 March 2013 Incumbent XII - (72.21%) Li Yuanchao
Served as Vice President (2008–2013).

Living Former Presidents

As of January 2016, there are two living former presidents:

President Term of office Date of birth
Jiang Zemin 1993-2003 (1926-08-17) August 17, 1926
Hu Jintao 2003-2013 (1942-12-21) December 21, 1942

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ Tomoyuki Kojima. China's Omnidirectional Diplomacy: Cooperation with all, Emphasis on Major Powers. Asia-Pacific Review, 1469–2937, Volume 8, Issue 2, 2001
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ World Savvy Monitor: China and the World - A foreign policy overview
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