The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies presents a visual guide to the leaders of China’s economy. By Yuan Wang, Research Associate at Harvard Business School, and James Evans, Publications Coordinator at the Fairbank Center.
As China marks 40 years of Reform and Opening Up, the Fairbank Center presents a visualization of China’s contemporary economic governance. Building on our previous infographic on China’s Leaders of Party and State, this infographic explains the role of each Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) member in the economic governance of the country, as well as the responsibilities of the country’s top economic officials, who mostly reside under the State Council (China’s central government).
The Premier of the State Council, by law, is in overall charge of the State Council bureaucracy. Vice Premiers, including the first-ranked Vice Premier with a PSC seat, and State Councilors, have specific areas of responsibility (分管领域) represented by their assigned ministry-level organs.
Each Vice Premier (and sometimes State Councilor) is also in charge of key policy initiatives that often require the participation of ministers overseen by other Vice Premiers (and/or other PSC or Politburo members if they fall outside the economic bureaucracy). In these cases, a coordinating body (议事协调机构) is usually established and chaired by the person in charge. In other words, even though most ministers are assigned to a specific Vice Premier or State Councilor who have primary oversight over them (which is how they are displayed in the infographic), ministers also report to other leaders for specific tasks. An office of the coordinating body is usually placed within a relevant ministry, which is overseen by a chair or vice chair to manage the day-to-day affairs of the body.
For example, the State Council Leading Group on Advancing the Development of Small and Medium Size Enterprises is chaired by Vice Premier Liu He, and has its office at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which Liu himself oversees. One of the three Vice Chairs of the group is the Minister of Finance, who is overseen by Han Zheng. The 19 members of the group consist of vice minister-rank officials, who represent a variety of government bodies that could impact the development of SMEs.
In the infographic, the heads of the “constituent organs” (i.e. the ministries and commissions”) of the State Council (国务院组成部门) are displayed if they are overseen by a Vice Premier or State Councilor with an economic portfolio. Ministries like defense and foreign affairs are omitted because they are overseen by other Politburo or PSC members. Due to limited space, only some heads of the ministry-rank “directly subordinated organs” of the State Council (国务院直属机构) are displayed. A “*” is placed next to an organ if its minister/head does not concurrently serve as its Communist Party Secretary.
Read our blogpost for an overview of the new CCP decision-making commissions, which includes each of the leading economic officials, the key initiatives they are in charge of, and the other State Council coordinating bodies they lead.