Premier of the People's Republic of China

The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, sometimes also referred to informally as the "Prime Minister", is the Leader of the State Council of China (a.k.a. the Central People's Government), who is the head of government and holds the highest rank (Level 1) in the Civil Service. This position replaced the role of Premier of the Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government (Chinese: 中央人民政府政务院总理), which existed from 1949 to 1954.

Premier of the
State Council of the
People's Republic of China
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Guówùyuàn Zǒnglǐ
Li Keqiang

since 15 March 2013
StyleMr. Premier (总理)
His Excellency (阁下)
(in international correspondence)
TypeHead of the State Council
StatusHead of Government
Member ofCentral Committee
Politburo Standing Committee
National Security Commission
State Council (Cabinet)
Plenary Meeting of the State Council
Executive Meeting of the State Council
Reports toNational People's Congress and its Standing Committee
SeatRegent Palace, Zhongnanhai, Beijing
NominatorPresident (1982–present)
the Party Central Committee
(1975–1982, president abolished)
AppointerPresident, according to the decision of the National People's Congress
Term lengthFive years
renewable once
Constituting instrumentConstitution of the People's Republic of China
PrecursorPremier of the Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government
Inaugural holderZhou Enlai[note 1]
Formation27 September 1954 (State Council of the PRC)
1 October 1949 (Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government)
Unofficial namesPrime Minister of China
DeputyVice Premier
State Councillor
Salary¥152,121 RMB ($22,000 USD)[1]
WebsiteState Council
Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
Simplified Chinese中华人民共和国国务院总理
Traditional Chinese中華人民共和國國務院總理
Literal meaningChinese People Republic State Affairs Court General Manager
Alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese国务院总理
Traditional Chinese國務院總理
Literal meaningState Affairs Court General Manager
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The Premier is formally approved by the National People's Congress upon the nomination of the President. In practice, the candidate is chosen within the Communist Party of China through the same process that determines the composition of the Politburo Standing Committee. Both the President and the Premier are selected once every five years. The premier is limited to two terms, but the president is not. The Premier has always been a member of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The current Premier is Li Keqiang, who took office on 15 March 2013. He succeeded Wen Jiabao.

Powers and duties

The Premier is the highest administrative position in the Government of the People's Republic of China. The Premier is responsible for organizing and administering the Chinese civil bureaucracy. For example, the Premier is tasked with planning and implementing national economic, social development and the state budget.[2] This includes overseeing the various ministries, departments, commissions and statutory agencies and announcing their candidacies to the National People's Congress for Vice-Premiers, State Councillors and ministerial offices. The Premier's powers and responsibilities are codified into the constitution unlike the Prime Minister from the Westminster system as by convention or traditions.[2]

The Premier does not have command authority over the People's Liberation Army, but the Premier is the head of the National Defense Mobilization Commission of China and deputy head of the National Security Commission which are departments of the armed forces. Since the 1980s, there has been a division of responsibilities between the Premier and the General Secretary of the Communist Party wherein the Premier is responsible for the technical details of implementing government policy while the General Secretary gathers the political support necessary for government policy.

In 1989, then Premier Li Peng, in cooperation with the then Chairman of the Central Military Commission Deng Xiaoping, was able to use the office of the Premier to declare war against Beijing and order the military crackdown of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

The Premier has been supported by four Vice-Premiers since Deng Xiaoping's reform in 1983. The First-ranked Vice Premier will act in the premier's capacity in their absence.

List of premiers

Living former premiers

As of December 2019, there are two living former premiers:

Premier Term of office Date of birth
Zhu Rongji 1998–2003 (1928-10-23) 23 October 1928
Wen Jiabao 2003–2013 (1942-09-15) 15 September 1942

See also


  1. as the only Premier of the Government Administration Council (1949–1954) and also the first Premier (1954–1976) of the State Council.


  1. "Public employees get salary increase - China -". Archived from the original on 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  2. Archived 2009-07-06 at the Wayback Machine, Section 3, Article 88 and Article 89.
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