East Asia

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 1–21 | Cite as

Profiling Future Chinese Politburo Members: Looking at Trends and Characteristics of Newly Promoted Central Committee Members (1992–2012)

  • Alex PayetteEmail author


Efforts at finding the next Politburo members have, since the mid-1970s, been at the center of Chinese Elite and leadership studies. From the late 1980s onwards, leadership selection has become more institutionalized. This allows scholars to narrow down their search to more “propitious” elements in order to try to predict who might ascend to the Politburo. Consequently, this article ponders if it was possible to differentiate these individuals from their less “promotable” counterparts upon their entry into the Central Committee between 1992 and 2012. Based on statistical reassessment of variables commonly found in the literature, the article argues that soon-to-be Politburo members were already displaying a different profile than that of their counterparts 5 to 10 years before their entry into the Politburo. This article does not seek to establish a perfect predictive model rather than circumscribe the profile-type and environment in which these rising Elites can be found. Lastly, the latter opens a discussion on what to expect from the results as well as competing profiles found inside the Central Committee.


Chinese Elite politics Central Committee Politburo membership Ranking structure Elite formation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This research is to be funded by the SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) Postdoctoral Grant (756-2015-0018). Funds accepted in September 2015—coverage starting from January 2016 until April 2018.

The manuscript has not been submitted to any other journal for simultaneous consideration.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

12140_2017_9267_MOESM1_ESM.docx (62 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 62.4 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Political StudiesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Political Science DepartmentMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of HistoryUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada

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