Famous Chinese Leaders

China, one of the fastest growing countries in the world, has dominated the world’s cultural, economic and social landscape by leap and bounds. And if you don’t believe us, check this – imagine life without Chinese food, low priced Chinese products, ancient Chinese art and science Feng Shui, traditional Chinese martial arts, or even Chinese inventions and discoveries! Tough one, isn’t it? But this is just the beginning for China’s huge territory and rich culture is about a lot more than just this. Chinese people are considered dynamic, strong-minded individuals with a warm heart and a hospitable nature. And the same goes for its leaders too. One of the biggest communist countries in the world, the political structure of China is a paradigm of communist ideologies, beliefs, principles and cultures. You would be amazed to know that the Communist party of China is the largest political party of the world. What’s more, it has been ruling China undisputedly for more than six decades now! The party has produced some of the finest and most eminent Chinese leaders like Li Xiannian, Yang Shangkun, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao or current President Xi Jinping. The nationalist party of China too has had influential leaders like Lee-Teng Hui, Ma Yeng Jeou and so on. Read on to know in details about Chinese leaders, their life and works.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Sun Yat-Sen

Sun Yat-Sen
Famous As: President of the Republic of China (1912)
Birthdate: November 12, 1866
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cuiheng, Zhongshan, China
Died: March 12, 1925
Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat Sen, also known as the "Father of the Nation" in China, ousted the Qing Dynasty in 1911. He was the first leader of the Nationalist Party of China and laid down the Three Principles of the People, which included nationalism, democracy, and livelihood.

 2 Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu
Famous As: Military general
Birthdate: 0544 BC
Birthplace: Qi, China
Died: 0496 BC
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general from the Eastern Zhou period. He is known to have written The Art of War, which propagated various alternatives to battles, such as alliances and use of spies, to win wars. He is said to be the same as Sun Wu and Sun Bin.

 3 Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 22, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Guang'an, China
Died: February 19, 1997
Deng Xiaoping led the People's Republic of China from 1978 to 1989. He ordered a crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protestors in 1989, leading to the June Fourth Massacre. However, he also earned the tag of the "Architect of Modern China" for ushering in a market economy in the country.
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 4 Wu Zetian

Wu Zetian
Famous As: Chinese Empress
Birthdate: February 17, 0624
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lizhou, Tang Dynasty
Died: December 16, 0705

Wu Zetian was a Chinese empress regnant who ruled the Zhou dynasty from 690 to 705. She is the only female monarch in Chinese history. Before ruling the Zhou dynasty, Wu Zetian had served as the de facto ruler of China from 665 to 690. Under her political and military leadership, the Chinese empire expanded beyond its former territorial limits.

 5 Qianlong Emperor

Qianlong Emperor
Famous As: Emperor of China
Birthdate: September 25, 1711
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lama Temple, Beijing, China
Died: February 7, 1799
The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty was the fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor and reigned over China from 1735 to 1796. Known for the economic prosperity and military prowess his kingdom gained under his rule, he continued to indirectly rule as the Retired Emperor even after his abdication.

 6 Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 17, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Yangzhou, Jiangsu

Chinese politician, Jiang Zemin, served as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2002. Qualified as an engineer, he joined the Chinese Communist Party when he was in college. Rising through the ranks, he eventually became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Minister of Electronic Industries. 

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 7 Lu Bu

Lu Bu
Famous As: Military General
Birthdate: 0161 AD
Birthplace: Wuyuan Commandery, China
Died: February 7, 0199
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 8 Cao Cao

Cao Cao
Famous As: Politician, Poet, Warlord
Birthdate: 0155 AD
Birthplace: Bozhou, Anhui, China
Died: March 15, 0220

Cao Cao was a Chinese warlord, poet, and statesman. He played an important role in laying the foundations for the state of Cao Wei, which was formed shortly after his death. Although he was posthumously honoured with the title Emperor Wu of Wei, Cao Cao never ruled as an emperor, but kept Emperor Xian under his control.

 9 Hu Jintao

Hu Jintao
Famous As: Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
Birthdate: December 21, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Taizhou

President of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from 2003 to 2013, Hu Jintao is believed to have given shape to the belligerent China that Xi Jinping unleashed on the world. He was conservative with political reforms and reintroduced state control in several sectors. Known for his reserved and modest leadership style, his tenure marked consensus based rule and collective leadership.

 10 Guan Yu

Guan Yu
Famous As: Military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China
Birthdate: 0160 AD
Birthplace: Yuncheng, Shanxi, China
Died: 0220 AD

Guan Yu was nicknamed Beautiful Beard for his long, flowing beard. Featured in literary works such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Guan was a Chinese military general who served Liu Bei of the Eastern Han dynasty. Lord Guan is now revered as a deity in Chinese folk culture.

 11 Zhuge Liang

Zhuge Liang
Famous As: Military Strategist, Inventor
Birthdate: 0181 AD
Birthplace: Shandong, China
Died: 0234 AD

Zhuge Liang, or Kong Ming, was a Chinese strategist of the Three Kingdoms Period. Legend has it that he had supernatural powers and had invented a number of things, such as a crossbow that shot multiple arrows. His habit of living in seclusion earned him the nickname The Hidden Dragon.

 12 Chiang Kai-shek

Chiang Kai-shek
Famous As: President of the Republic of China
Birthdate: October 31, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Xikou
Died: April 5, 1975

Chiang Kai-shek was a Chinese revolutionary who led the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and later on in Taiwan until his death. He is credited with successfully leading the Northern Expedition against the Beiyang government, achieving Chinese unification. He was involved in a civil war with Communist Party of China, which he lost in 1949 and retreated to Taiwan.

 13 Liu Bei

Liu Bei
Famous As: Founder of the Chinese Shu Han Dynasty
Birthdate: 0161 AD
Birthplace: Zhuozhou, Baoding, China
Died: June 10, 0223

Liu Bei was a warlord in the Eastern Han dynasty. He is credited with founding the state of Shu Han. Liu Bei went on to reign as the emperor of Shu Han from 221 until his death in 223. Liu Bei is best remembered for his remarkable skills as a leader and politician. His life has inspired several TV series.

 14 Yuan Shikai

Yuan Shikai
Famous As: Former President of the Republic of China
Birthdate: September 16, 1859
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Xiangcheng, Henan, Qing Empire
Died: June 6, 1916

Yuan Shikai was a Chinese government and military official who reigned as the emperor of the Empire of China from 1915 to 1916. He is credited with introducing several modernization projects to the dynasty. He is also credited with organizing and training one of the first modern armies of China.

 15 Baiju Noyan

Baiju Noyan
Famous As: Military personnel
Birthdate: 1201 AD
Birthplace: Mongol Empire
Died: 1260 AD

 16 Carrie Lam

Carrie Lam
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 13, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wan Chai, Hong Kong, England

Carrie Lam is a Hong Kong politician who has been serving as the Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017. From 2007 to 2012, she served as the Secretary for Development. From 2012 to 2017, Lam was the Chief Secretary for Administration. A controversial leader, Carrie Lam's administration witnessed the criminalization of the Hong Kong National Party.

 17 Gaozu of Han

Gaozu of Han
Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: 0256 BC
Birthplace: Pei County
Died: June 1, 0195

Emperor Gaozu of Han reigned as the first emperor of the famous Han dynasty from 202 to 195 BC. Although he was born into a peasant family, Gaozu of Han went on to found the Han dynasty after emerging victorious in the Battle of Gaixia. He is credited with unifying most of China and popularizing Confucianism.  

 18 Jiang Qing

Jiang Qing
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 5, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zhucheng, Weifang, China
Died: May 14, 1991

 19 Liu Shaoqi

Liu Shaoqi
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 24, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Huaminglou, Changsha, China
Died: November 12, 1969

Liu Shaoqi was a Chinese politician, revolutionary, and theorist. He served as the vice-chairman of the Chinese Communist Party from 1956 to 1966. From 1959 to 1968, he served as the Chairman of the People's Republic of China, implementing several policies of economic reconstruction in the country. For 15 long years, Liu was the third most influential man in China.

 20 Guangxu Emperor

Guangxu Emperor
Famous As: Emperor of China
Birthdate: August 14, 1871
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Prince Chun Mansion, Beijing, China
Died: November 14, 1908

Guangxu Emperor reigned over the Qing dynasty from 1875 to 1908. He was also the ninth Qing emperor to reign over the Eighteen Provinces or China proper. He is best remembered for initiating the Hundred Days' Reform, which was brought to an end by Empress Dowager Cixi in 1898. Subsequently, Guangxu Emperor lost power and was killed in 1908.

 21 Soong May-ling

Soong May-ling
Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: March 5, 1898
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Empire of the Great Qing, China
Died: October 23, 2003
Soong May-ling was a Chinese political figure best remembered as the wife of President Chiang Kai-shek. She played an important role in the politics of China and held several honorary and active positions. She also played a prominent role during the Second Sino-Japanese War, rallying several Chinese people against the invasion of the Japanese.  

 22 Sima Yi

Sima Yi
Famous As: General
Birthdate: 0179 AD
Birthplace: Wen County, Henan, Jiaozuo, China
Died: September 7, 0251

Sima Yi was a Chinese politician and military general. He served as the regent of Cao Wei during the tripartite division of China in the third century AD. Sima Yi is best remembered for defending Cao Wei from several invasions led by Cao Wei's arch-rival Shu. He then went on to serve as Wei's de facto primary authority.

 23 Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong
Famous As: Communist Leader of China
Birthdate: December 26, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shaoshan, Xiangtan, China
Died: September 9, 1976

One of the most significant and controversial leaders of the 20th century, Mao Zedong was a communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People's Republic of China which he governed as the chairman of Chinese Communist Party. He is appreciated for numerous development work but is criticised for his authoritarian regime and policies which resulted in millions of deaths .

 24 Zhou Enlai

Zhou Enlai
Famous As: First Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China
Birthdate: March 5, 1898
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Huai'an, China
Died: January 8, 1976

Zhou Enlai served as the People's Republic of China's first premier. He played a major role in the Communist Party's rise to power, serving under the founder of the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong. Since his death, Zhou has been widely considered a skilled negotiator and a devoted revolutionary.

 25 Chiang Ching-kuo

Chiang Ching-kuo
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 27, 1910
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fenghua
Died: January 13, 1988

Son of former president Chiang Kai-shek, Chiang Ching-kuo had been the premier and the president of the Republic of China. He had also studied in Russia as Nikolai Vladimirovich Elizarov. Following the rise of communists in China, he moved to Taiwan and continued to manage the government in exile.

 26 Shunzhi Emperor

Shunzhi Emperor
Famous As: Emperor of China
Birthdate: March 15, 1638
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mukden Palace, Shenyang, China
Died: February 5, 1661

Shunzhi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty was the first Qing ruler of China proper. Shunzhi relied on Buddhist priests and eunuch officials. While some believe he had died of smallpox, others state he had retired to a monastery to cope with the death of his favorite consort.

 27 Zhao Ziyang

Zhao Ziyang
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of China
Birthdate: October 17, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hua County, Anyang, China
Died: January 17, 2005

Zhao Ziyang was a Chinese politician who served as general secretary of China's Communist Party from 1987 to 1989. From 1980 to 1987, Zhao served as the third premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. Under his rule, China witnessed several political and economic reforms. He died from a stroke in 2005 in Beijing.

 28 Wen Jiabao

Wen Jiabao
Famous As: Politician, Geologist, Economist
Birthdate: September 15, 1942
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tianjin

Wen Jiabao is a retired Chinese politician who served as the country's head of government from 2003 to 2013. As Premier, Wen Jiabao played a major role in directing Beijing's economic policy. Nicknamed the people's premier, Wen worked towards bettering the lives of migrant workers and farmers rather than focusing on GDP growth in rich coastal areas and large cities.  

 29 Li Peng

Li Peng
Famous As: 4th Premier of the People's Republic of China
Birthdate: October 20, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Died: July 22, 2019

Li Peng was a Chinese politician and hydroelectric engineer. From 1987 to 1998, he served as the premier of the People's Republic of China. As Premier, Li was responsible for the Tiananmen Square Massacre as he chose to use force to quell the protests of 1989. He is credited with overseeing the Three Gorges Dam project, which is the largest dam in the world.

 30 Yue Fei

Yue Fei
Famous As: Poet, Military personnel
Birthdate: March 24, 1103
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Anyang, China
Died: January 28, 1142

 31 Daoguang Emperor

Daoguang Emperor
Famous As: Emperor of China
Birthdate: September 16, 1782
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Forbidden City, Beijing, China
Died: February 25, 1850

Daoguang Emperor reigned as the emperor of the Qing dynasty from 1820 to 1850. His reign not only witnessed the First Opium War but also the commencement of the Taiping Rebellion. Over the years, he has been portrayed by several actors in TV series, such as The Rise and Fall of Qing Dynasty, Sigh of His Highness, and Succession War.    

 32 Wang Jingwei

Wang Jingwei
Famous As: Premier of the Republic of China (1932-35)
Birthdate: 1883 AD
Birthplace: Sanshui District, Foshan, China
Died: November 10, 1944
Wang Jingwei lost both his parents in childhood. He grew up to become a close associate of Sun Yat-sen. He was the first president of the Republic of China. His collaboration with Japan to form a government in Nanjing made him a traitor in the eyes of his countrymen. 

 33 Hu Yaobang

Hu Yaobang
Famous As: Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
Birthdate: November 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Liuyang, Changsha, China
Died: April 15, 1989

Hu Yaobang served as the Chinese Communist Party's general secretary from 1982 to 1987. Prior to his position as the general secretary, Hu served as the party's chairman from 1981 to 1982. Under Deng Xiaoping's leadership, Hu Yaobang rose to prominence and played a crucial role in the Boluan Fanzheng program, which was initiated by Deng.

 34 Nurhaci

Famous As: Jurchen chieftain who rose to prominence in the late 16th century in Manchuria
Birthdate: May 14, 1559
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fushun, China
Died: September 30, 1626

Nurhaci was a Jurchen chieftain who reigned as the Khan of Later Jin for 10 years. He is credited with uniting and reorganizing several Jurchen tribes. His attack and conquest of Ming dynasty laid the foundation for the formation of the Qing dynasty, which was founded by his descendants in 1636. His life inspired the 2005 TV series, Taizu Mishi.

 35 Hong Taiji

Hong Taiji
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: November 28, 1592
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Manchuria, China
Died: September 21, 1643

Hong Taiji reigned as the khan of the Later Jin from 1626 to 1636. He is credited with establishing the Qing dynasty and reigned as its emperor from 1636 to 1643. He also played a major role in consolidating the empire founded by his father Nurhaci. Over the years, Hong Taiji has been portrayed in many TV series and films.

 36 Henry Sy

Henry Sy
Famous As: Entrepreneur, Businessperson
Birthdate: December 25, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Xiamen, China
Died: January 19, 2019

 37 Sun Quan

Sun Quan
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0182 AD
Birthplace: Xiapi County, Xu Province, Han Empire
Died: May 21, 0252

Sun Quan was the founder of Wu during the tripartite division of China. He went on to reign as the emperor of Eastern Wu from 229 to 252 AD. Today, he is known as a playable character in popular video games, such as the Warriors Orochi video game series. He has also been portrayed in TV series like Three Kingdoms.

 38 Wang Qishan

Wang Qishan
Famous As: Vice President of the People's Republic of China
Birthdate: July 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tsingtao, Shantung, Republic of China

 39 Hua Guofeng

Hua Guofeng
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 16, 1921
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shanxi
Died: August 20, 2008

Hua Guofeng was a Chinese politician and one of the most important leaders in the history of China. He served as the premier of the People's Republic of China before he was forced out of power by a group of party leaders. He is the only leader to have held the offices of premier, party leader, and CMC chairman simultaneously. 

 40 Zhang Fei

Zhang Fei
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: 0168 AD
Birthplace: Zhuozhou, Baoding
Died: 0221 AD

 41 Peng Dehuai

Peng Dehuai
Famous As: 1st Minister of National Defense
Birthdate: October 24, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Xiangtan County, Xiangtan, China
Died: November 29, 1974

 42 Bao Zheng

Bao Zheng
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 5, 0999
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hefei, China
Died: July 3, 1062

Bao Zheng was a Chinese politician who played an important role in China's Song Dynasty under Emperor Renzong. Remembered for his extreme honesty, Bao was bestowed with the honorific title, Justice Bao. Today, he is revered in Chinese society as the cultural symbol of justice. Thanks to his popularity, Bao Zheng has been portrayed in many films and TV series.

 43 Lin Biao

Lin Biao
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 5, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Huanggang, China
Died: September 13, 1971

Lin Biao was a Chinese military officer who played a crucial role in the Chinese Civil War. He is credited with commanding the decisive Pingjin and Liaoshen campaigns during the Civil War. An ardent supporter of Mao Zedong, Lin Biao also played an important role in propagating Mao Zedong's cult of personality.


 44 Shennong

Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0000 BC

Legends state that Shennong, or the Divine Farmer, who was a Chinese mythological figure, was born with the body of a man and the head of a bull, and had learned to speak by 3 days of his birth. He revolutionized agricultural methods and made a catalogue of medicinal plants.

 45 Hong Xiuquan

Hong Xiuquan
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: January 1, 1814
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hua County, Guangdong, Qing China
Died: June 1, 1864

Hong Xiuquan was a Hakka Chinese revolutionary best remembered for leading the Taiping Rebellion against the much-feared and powerful Qing Dynasty. Credited with establishing the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Hong Xiuquan later served as an inspiration to the Communists under Mao Zedong. In 1959, China established a small museum to honor his legacy.  

 46 Adrienne Clarkson

Adrienne Clarkson
Famous As: 26th Governor General of Canada
Birthdate: February 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Central, Hong Kong

 47 Xi Zhongxun

Xi Zhongxun
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 15, 1913
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fuping County
Died: May 24, 2002

Xi Zhongxun was a Chinese revolutionary and political leader. From establishing Communist guerrilla bases in the 1930s to launching economic liberalization in the 1980s, Xi Zhongxun made immense contributions to the development of China. He is also known as the father of the present paramount leader of China, Xi Jinping.

 48 Soong Ching-ling

Soong Ching-ling
Famous As: Political figure
Birthdate: January 27, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Died: May 29, 1981

Soong Ching-ling was a Chinese political figure. Referred to as Madame Sun Yat-sen, Soong is best known as the wife of Sun Yat-sen, who played a major role in the establishment of the Republic of China. Soong played a key role in China's politics before and after the formation of the People's Republic of China.  

 49 Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping
Famous As: General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
Birthdate: June 15, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Beijing, China

Xi Jinping, President of China since 2013, is said to be the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao Zedong. He is an authoritarian leader and his reign is marked by an increase in censorship and deterioration in human rights . Also, China’s foreign policy under Xi has been more assertive, leading to a deterioration of relations with many countries.

 50 Kaidu

Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: 1235 AD
Birthplace: Mongol Empire, China
Died: 1301 AD

Kaidu, the great-grandson of Genghis Khan, emerged as the main opposition to his cousin Kublai Khan’s reign over the Mongol empire. Kaidu’s war against Kublai’s empire didn’t end with Kublai’s death, and continued for almost 30 years. He has found mention in literary works such as The Journeyer.