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Today under Xi, the CCP took a step back, also eliminating women from the next level of power too, the now 24-member Politburo. The new all-male line-up was revealed the day Xi formally extended his rule for a further five years, after the closing of the 20th Communist party congress in Beijing.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/22/where-are-the-women-at-the-top-of-chinese-politics

I've read that Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China is the highest, but I am not very well informed on how high up that is in the hierarchy. I've read that Liu Yandong was the highest ranked woman within the CCP, but I don't know how high up it is within the CCP hierarchy.

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This is a somewhat difficult question to answer, because the structure of the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese government has changed quite a lot since the foundation of the CCP and PRC. Even if a position has been around for a long time, both its de jure and de facto importance may have changed significantly. There is the additional issue of distinguishing between government and party positions. Nonetheless, there are some strong contenders for the "title":

  • Wu Yi, Liu Yandong and Sun Chunlan were all Vice Premiers at different times in the last 20 years, with Sun Chunlan the last to retire in March 2023. Wu Yi was nominally the highest ranked of the three, being the "first" Vice Premier, while the other two were "Second" Vice Premiers.

  • Deng Yingchao was Chairperson of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, from 1983 to 1988. This position is now considered superior to that of Vice Premier.

  • Jiang Qing, also known as Madame Mao, was a powerful figure during the Cultural Revolution, as part of the Gang of Four. Although she did not hold an official position and it is debatable whether the Gang of Four acted autonomously or merely followed Mao Zedong's orders.

  • Song Qingling held a number of senior roles in the government. She was a Vice Chairperson of the PRC, which was similar to Vice President in later administrations, and some argue made her co-head of state during the period 1968-1972, when there was no Chairperson. She was also Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress which is a position now considered junior only to the General Secretary and Premier. The complication in this case is that she wasn't a member of the CCP during this time, instead being a member of the allied Left Kuomintang. She was admitted to the CCP shortly before her death in 1981, at the same time being made Honorary Chairperson of the PRC. She was the only person to ever hold this position, so it is difficult to establish its relative rank.

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In the CCP's power pyramid, the top leaders form a central committee with a more exclusive and powerful 25-member group called the politburo.

Source: ABC

Just three women, trade minister Wu Yi, former United Front Work Department chief Liu Yandong and "Iron Lady" Sun have served on the Politburo since the 1990s.

Source: RFA

Currently, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan is the only woman among the men of the 25-person Politburo and the woman who has risen highest in the CCP.

The vice premiers of the State Council of the People's Republic of China are high-ranking officials under the premier and above the state councillors and ministers.3 Generally, the title is held by multiple individuals at any given time, with each vice-premier holding a broad portfolio of responsibilities. The first vice-premier takes over duties of the premier at the time of the latter's incapacity. The incumbent vice premiers, in order of rank, are Ding Xuexiang, He Lifeng, Zhang Guoqing and Liu Guozhong. (Note that Sun wasn't on the succession list.)

Vice premiers are the deputies to the premier, with each vice premier overseeing a certain area of administration.[4] Both the premier and the vice premiers are selected once every five years and are limited to two terms.[5] The vice premiers are nominated by the premier, who are then approved by the National People's Congress and appointed by the president.[6] Vice premiers are members of the executive meetings of the State Council, along with the premier, secretary-general and state councillors.[6] Additionally, all vice premiers have been members of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party.

Source: Wikipedia VP of CCP

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  • Reminder to please cite your sources
    – CDJB
    Aug 9, 2023 at 17:43
  • @CDJB Good editing.
    – r13
    Aug 9, 2023 at 18:04

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