Famous Chinese Political Leaders

Find out more about the greatest Chinese Political Leaders, including Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin and Zhou Enlai.

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

Vote for Your Favourite Chinese Political Leaders

 1 Chiang Kai-shek

Chiang Kai-shek
7
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.

 2 Sun Yat-Sen

Sun Yat-Sen
5
Famous As: Chinese Revolutionary and 'Father of Modern china'
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.
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 3 Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong
20
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 .

 4 Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping
8
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.

 5 Hu Jintao

Hu Jintao
6
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.

 6 Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin
6
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. 

 7 Zhuge Liang

Zhuge Liang
4
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.

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 8 Carrie Lam

Carrie Lam
6
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 13, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wan Chai, Hong Kong, England

 9 Yuan Shikai

Yuan Shikai
4
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.

 10 Zhao Ziyang

Zhao Ziyang
4
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.

 11 Jiang Qing

Jiang Qing
7
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 5, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zhucheng, Weifang, China
Died: May 14, 1991

 12 Guangxu Emperor

Guangxu Emperor
6
Famous As: Emperor of China
Birthdate: August 14, 1871
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Prince Chun Mansion, Beijing, China
Died: November 14, 1908

 13 Liu Shaoqi

Liu Shaoqi
3
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.

 14 Gaozu of Han

Gaozu of Han
3
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.  

 15 Soong May-ling

Soong May-ling
3
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.  

 16 Sima Yi

Sima Yi
3
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.

 17 Zhou Enlai

Zhou Enlai
6
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.

 18 Chiang Ching-kuo

Chiang Ching-kuo
3
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.

 19 Wen Jiabao

Wen Jiabao
3
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.  

 20 Xi Zhongxun

Xi Zhongxun
3
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.

 21 Daoguang Emperor

Daoguang Emperor
3
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.    

 22 Wang Jingwei

Wang Jingwei
3
Famous As: Politician, Diplomat
Birthdate: May 4, 1883
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sanshui, Guangdong, Qing Dynasty, 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. 

 23 Hu Yaobang

Hu Yaobang
6
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.

 24 Shunzhi Emperor

Shunzhi Emperor
3
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.

 25 Sun Quan

Sun Quan
3
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.

 26 Nurhaci

Nurhaci
3
Famous As: General
Birthdate: February 21, 1559
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Xinbin Manchu Autonomous County
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.

 27 Hong Taiji

Hong Taiji
3
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.

 28 Hua Guofeng

Hua Guofeng
4
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. 

 29 Lin Biao

Lin Biao
3
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.
  


      

 30 Bao Zheng

Bao Zheng
3
Famous As: Judge
Birthdate: April 11, 0999
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Feidong County
Died: May 20, 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.

 31 Shennong

Shennong
3
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.

 32 Kaidu

Kaidu
3
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.

 33 Soong Ching-ling

Soong Ching-ling
3
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.  

 34 Li Xiannian

Li Xiannian
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 23, 1909
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hongan
Died: June 21, 1992

Li Xiannian was a Chinese Communist political and military leader. From 1983 to 1988, he served as the president of the People's Republic of China under Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping. He played an important role during the Chinese Civil War and the Second Sino-Japanese War, serving as a successful and influential military commander.

 35 Li Peng

Li Peng
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 20, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chengdu

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.

 36 Yang Shangkun

Yang Shangkun
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 3, 1907
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tongnan District, Chongqing, China
Died: September 14, 1998

Yang Shangkun was a Chinese Communist political and military leader. From 1988 to 1993, he served as the fourth president of the People's Republic of China. Counted among the Eight Elders of the Communist Party, Yang Shangkun oversaw major political and military affairs. He also played a major role in quelling the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

 37 Jia Sidao

Jia Sidao
3
Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: 1213 AD
Birthplace: Taizhou, China
Died: July 31, 1275

Jia Sidao was a Chinese statesman who served as the grand chancellor of the Song Dynasty from 1260 to 1275. He also played a major role in the Battle of Xiangyang. Jia Sidao was played by actor Chin Han in the 2014 TV series Marco Polo.

 38 Du Fu

Du Fu
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 12, 0712
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gongyi, Henan, China
Died: November 30, 0769

Du Fu was a Chinese politician and poet. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Chinese poets of all time, Du Fu's works have influenced both Japanese and Chinese literary culture. While it is said that almost all Chinese poets have been influenced by him, the Japanese literature from the Muromachi period was greatly impacted by Du Fu's poetry.

 39 Su Shi

Su Shi
3
Famous As: Poet, Writer, Painter
Birthdate: January 8, 1037
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Meishan
Died: August 24, 1101

Su Shi was a Chinese writer, calligrapher, poet, painter, gastronome, pharmacologist, and politician who lived during the Song dynasty. He played a major role in the political affairs of the Song dynasty. He is credited with producing some of the best-known poems, prose, and essays and is considered one of the most decorated personalities in classical Chinese literature.

 40 Lü Buwei

Lü Buwei
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: 0235 AD
Birthplace: Zhao, China
Died: 0291 AD

Lü Buwei was a Chinese politician and businessman of the Qin state. He played a major role in helping Zhuangxiang become the heir apparent to the throne. Subsequently, Lü Buwei was appointed as the chancellor when Zhuangxiang ascended the throne. Over the years, he has been portrayed in many films, such as The Emperor and the Assassin.

 41 Li Hongzhang

Li Hongzhang
3
Famous As: Diplomat, Mandarin
Birthdate: February 15, 1823
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hefei
Died: November 7, 1901

Li Hongzhang was a Chinese politician, diplomat, and general of the popular Qing dynasty. He is credited with quelling many major rebellions and took up several important positions in the imperial court. Although he was praised for his diplomatic skills, Li has remained a controversial figure due to his military and political defeats.

 42 Fu Hsi

Fu Hsi
3
Birthdate: 0000 BC

Fu Hsi is a Chinese culture hero, according to Chinese mythology and legend. He is credited with creating humanity and inventing domestication, fishing, hunting, and cooking. According to mythology, Fu Hsi also invented Chinese characters, which are being used today. Over the years, Fu Hsi has been the subject of several paintings and other artworks.

 43 Chen Yun

Chen Yun
3
Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: June 13, 1905
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Qingpu District, Shanghai, China
Died: April 10, 1995

Chen Yun was a Chinese political leader who played a major role during the Chinese economic reform. He was regarded as one of the most influential political leaders of China during the '80s and '90s. He also played an important role during the Chinese Civil War and was later counted among the Eight Great Eminent Officials of China.

 44 Cai Lun

Cai Lun
3
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: 0050 AD
Birthplace: Hunan, China
Died: 0121 AD

Cai Lun was a Chinese inventor who served as an eunuch court official of the Han dynasty. Cai Lun played an important role at the imperial court of Emperor He, overseeing the production of weapons and instruments for imperial use. He is credited with inventing paper as we know it today and is hence considered the inventor of modern paper.

 45 Donald Tsang

Donald Tsang
3
Famous As: Government Official
Birthdate: October 7, 1944
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hong Kong, China

Donald Tsang is a former civil servant. From 2005 to 2012, he served as the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. After joining the colonial civil service in 1967, Donald Tsang occupied several positions in local finance, administration, and trade. In 1995, he became the first ethnic Chinese to be appointed Financial Secretary of Hong Kong under British administration.

 46 Gu Kailai

Gu Kailai
3
Famous As: Chinese lawyer
Birthdate: November 15, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: China

Gu Kailai is best known as the second wife of CCP Politburo member Bo Xilai. Daughter of Gu Jingsheng, a CCP bureaucrat, Gu served as a lawyer and wrote two bestsellers, before being convicted of killing a British businessman named Neil Heywood. Her death sentence was later commuted to life.

 47 Han Fei

Han Fei
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 0280 BC
Birthplace: Han, China
Died: 0233 BC

Chinese philosopher Han Fei is remembered for his iconic work Han Feizi, which is an ancient text containing Fei’s essays that reflect the Legalist tradition. It is believed he suffered from a speech defect, which encouraged him to write. King Zheng of Qin later adopted most of Fei’s philosophies.

 48 Tung Chee-hwa

Tung Chee-hwa
3
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: July 7, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Shanghai, China

Son of shipping magnate and Orient Overseas founder C.Y. Tung, Tung Chee-hwa was educated in Hong Kong, Britain, and the U.S. before taking over the leadership of his family business. He later became the chief executive of Hong Kong and is still known as the “kingmaker” of Hong Kong’s politics.

 49 Wang Yi

Wang Yi
3
Famous As: politician, diplomat
Birthdate: October 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Beijing

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had initially been part of the Northeast Construction Army Corps. Yi boasts of a university degree in Japanese language and has been an ambassador to Japan. He is quite popular on the Chinese micro-blogging site Sina Weibo. He has also taken care of Taiwan affairs.

 50 Zhao Gao

Zhao Gao
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: 0258 AD
Birthplace: Qin, China
Died: 0207 AD

Zhao Gao was a eunuch who served the emperors of the Qin dynasty. He conspired to overthrow Qin Shi Huang and hid his death from the emperor’s eldest son, sending him a false letter that stated the emperor wanted the prince to commit suicide. Zhao was eventually assassinated.