The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, until 1927 called the Central Executive Committee (中央执行委员会), is the central administrative and decision-making body of the Chinese party-state.
In the post-Mao era members of the Central Committee have been elected by the National Congress of the CPC every five years. These elections are a confirmation vote based on a candidate list where the number of candidates slightly exceeds the number of available seats. Usually only 8% to 12% of candidates are not elected to the Central Committee; it is customary for the Committee to include the governors and party secretaries of China’s provinces, the heads of central government bodies, major SOEs, and national party organizations, and high ranking military officers in the PLA among its members.
The Central Committee has the nominal power to elect the members of the Secretariat, Politburo, and its Standing Committee, but in practice it merely confirms candidates pre-selected by the top leadership. At select points in modern Chinese history–such as the 3rd Plenum of the 11th Party Congress–meetings of the Central Committee, called PLENUMS, have served as forums for substantive intra-party debates. More often the Central Committee makes small adjustments to plans already agreed on by the POLITBURO ahead of time. Documents drafted during Central Committee meetings are among the most authoritative in the Chinese policy process; each condenses the various guidelines, policies, and tasks issued since the previous plenum into a baseline directive for the entire party.
Heath, Timothy. 2014. China’s New Governing Party Paradigm: Political Renewal and the Pursuit of National Rejuvenation. New York: Routledge; Heilman, Sebastian. 2017. China’s Political System. Lanham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield; Sullivan, Lawrence. 2022. Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Communist Party, 2nd ed. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.