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Nine presidents

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九个总统 (jiǔ ge zǒngtǒng): nine presidents

“The Nine Presidents” being unveiled at the 17th Party Congress in 2007. (Xinhua)

Refers to the members of the Politburo Standing Committee—the very nucleus of power within the Chinese Communist Party.

The term "nine presidents" was used by former Chinese leader (and current dissident), Bao Tong, to draw attention to the fact that China is led by nine people who effectively share power as presidents, and that this structure lacks a constitutional foundation. While there were nine members of the Standing Committee when Bao coined the term, as of the 18th Party Congress there are only seven.