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Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet

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Prime Minister of China
Flag of China (1862–1889).svg
LU Zhongwei.jpg
Lu Zhongwei

since 16 January 2020
Style His Excellency
Residence Zhongnanhai
Appointer Emperor of China
Term length None
Inaugural holder Yikuang, Prince Qing
Formation 8 May 1911

The Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet is the head of government of the Great Qing, appointed by the Emperor of China. The Prime Minister is the chief of the Imperial Cabinet, and is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day functions of the Chinese government by the authority of the Son of Heaven, as the head of the executive branch. The Prime Minister is also formally the head of the Advisory Council, the upper house of the parliament. The Prime Minister is nominated by the emperor and confirmed in a vote by the National Assembly, and also has no fixed term. Since China is a semi-constitutional monarchy, the Prime Minister has significant power as head of the executive and usually works closely with the Emperor, and traditionally the office of Chinese Imperial Premier has symbolized a strong monarchist, bureaucratic, and antiparliamentary component. In English the position is also often referred to as Premier or Imperial Prime Minister.

The office of Prime Minister and a new Imperial Cabinet were established in 1911 by the Guangxu Emperor's New Policies as a replacement for the Chief Councilor of the Grand Council, which had served Qing Dynasty for centuries as the main policy-making body and was the closest equivalent to a cabinet. Today the Grand Council is a privy council in the Aisin Gioro imperial clan, while the Cabinet has replaced it in the role of being the main organ of the executive. The Outline of the Imperial Constitution, established in 1908 and amended after the Xinhai Revolution, established a constitutional monarchy with extensive powers for the National Assembly, but still preserving some powers for the Emperor. While the new system moved away from the autocratic rule that had existed before, the monarch and his appointed prime minister still wielded a lot of power. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the country became essentially a dictatorship due to the conflict and the prime minister Wang Jingwei became the most powerful person in the country after the Emperor. But this was changed in 1949 as the Guangxu Emperor returned to the constitutional system, which has remained in place since then. In January 2020, the Hongxian Emperor made a proposal to modify the constitution, which would effectively remove power from the parliament and make the Prime Minister only answerable to him rather than the National Assembly.

The current Prime Minister is Lu Zhongwei, who was nominated by the Hongxian Emperor on 16 January 2020 and was confirmed by the National Assembly.



Styles, compensation, benefits

List of prime ministers

  Non-Partisan   Beiyang clique   Nationalist Party   Royalist Party

Portrait Name
Term of Office Cabinet Political party Emperor
1 Pmyikuang.jpg Yikuang (Prince Qing)
8 May 1911 1 November 1911 Non-partisan
(The Imperial Family)
Yikuang, the Prince Qing, was a Manchu noble who held many senior government posts in the Qing Dynasty before being appointed the first Prime Minister as part of Emperor Guangxu's reforms. He was hesitant to implement the reforms that the Emperor wanted but was an influential member of the imperial clan. His tenure was short, however, as he was forced to resign as the Xinhai Revolution broke out in late 1911 so that the Emperor could make a deal with the revolutionaries.
2 General Yuan Shikai.jpg Yuan Shikai
Yuán Shìkǎi
2 November 1911 4 January 1912 Beiyang Clique Guangxu
The former military officer Yuan Shikai took office after leveraging his position as the commander of the Beiyang Army, the most modern unit in the Qing forces, during the Revolution. But the Emperor suspected that Yuan was conspiring to overthrow him and make himself the ruler of China, so he had him placed under house arrest an later executed after concluding a deal with the revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen. Both the Emperor and Sun distrusted Yuan, who had also attempted to make a deal with the republicans on his own terms and planned on making himself president if they had succeeded. His death caused a power vacuum that was filled by the imperial clan and the reformist elements of Sun's movement.
3 Sun Yat Sen portrait.jpg Sun Yat-sen
Sūn Yìxiān
4 January 1912 12 March 1925 Nationalist Party Guangxu
Sun Yat-sen was the most prominent revolutionary leader among the anti-Qing movements of the late 19th century into the early 1900s, and led the negotiations between the imperial court and one of the republican organisations. He came to an agreement which called for turning the country into a constitutional monarchy while leaving the Manchu dynasty in place, and promoted and ideology of "Five Races Under Heaven" to overcome divides between China's ethnic groups. He would last as Premier until his death in 1925, overseeing internal conflicts with provincial warlords while continuing to restructure the old regime, China's entry into World War I, as well as increasing tensions with Japan. Sun would be remembered as one of the greatest statesmen of recent Chinese history.
4 Tan Yankai.jpg Tan Yankai
Tán Yánkǎi
12 March 1925 22 September 1930 Nationalist Party Guangxu
Originally a constitutional monarchist, he was a member of the left wing of the Nationalist Party and supported the Qing dynasty. The Guangxu Emperor appointed Tan Yankai because he saw the man as a neutral figure who would be accepted as a provisional leader after Sun's death. He presided over an administration that was forced to deal with increased tensions with Japan until his death in 1930.
5 Pu wei,Prince Gong.jpg Puwei (Prince Gong)
22 September 1930 28 January 1932 Royalist Party
(The Imperial Family)
Puwei, the Prince Gong, was a grandson of the late 19th century Manchu statesman Yixin, who dominated Chinese politics during that time and was the better known holder of the title. Puwei represented the conservative Manchu nobility and was disliked by some of the more right wing elements of the Nationalists, which rallied around Chiang Kai-shek. His government lasted less than a year before it fell after its lack of a response to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in late 1931.
6 汪精衛照片.jpg Wang Jingwei
Wāng Jīngwèi
28 January 1932 10 November 1944 Nationalist Party Guangxu
The head of the leftist faction of the Nationalist Party and Sun Yat-sen's former closest associate, Wang Jingwei was widely seen as a successor to the late statesman. He was a rival of Chaing Kai-shek, who was rising in the 1920s and was seen as a favorite among the more nationalistic right wingers. Wang had served as a diplomat and was the Chinese Foreign Minister before being asked to form a new cabinet by the Emperor in 1932 and was known for his pro-peace views in regards to the Japanese. He would preside over the Second Sino-Japanese War and lead what was effectively a military dictatorship for the duration of that conflict, before his death from illness in 1944. Wang would be remembered as one of China's best prime ministers for his leadership during the war and patriotism to the Qing dynasty, despite his past as a republican revolutionary in his youth.
7 Prince Zaitao of Qing.jpg Zaitao (Prince Zhong)
10 November 1944 20 September 1950 Non-partisan
(The Imperial Family)
Zaitao, the Prince Zhong, was another Manchu noble and a loyalist of the dynasty but was nonetheless considered acceptable by the Nationalists because of his efforts to keep a constitutional monarchy after the Japanese war and to reconcile the Manchu-Han divide. The Prince presided over the last year of the conflict and oversaw the rebuilding program after World War II, as well as the recognition of China as a great power in international affairs. As a professional military officer Prince Zhong also oversaw the buildup of the Imperial Chinese Army and Navy after the war. He stepped down from the premiership in 1950 and would remain active as a political advisor to the government for the next two decades before his death in 1970.
8 ROC President Lin Sen.jpg Zang Enzhu
Zāng Ēnzhù
21 September 1950 25 December 1958 Non-partisan Guangxu
Zang Enzhu was the last premier during the reign of the Guangxu Emperor, and briefly at the start of his successor's reign, the Xuantong Emperor. Formerly had served as the Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom during World War II.
9 Xiao Xiangrong.jpg Chen Yonglin
Chén Yònglín
25 December 1958 16 June 1970 Nationalist Party Xuantong
Chen Yonglin oversaw China's opening up to the world and economic reforms, starting in 1965, which began to rapidly industrialize and modernize the country.
10 Wu Ken
Wú Kěn
16 June 1970 6 October 1979 Nationalist Party Xuantong
11 Sun Baoqi4.jpg Yinian (Prince Rui)
10 October 1979 20 July 1985 Royalist Party
(The Imperial Family)
A member of the Aisin Gioro clan, Prince Rui was the heir of one of the twelve "iron cap" princely peerages of the Qing Dynasty. As of 2020, he was also the last Manchu nobleman to hold the office of Prime Minister. =
12 Qian-Qichen.jpg Ren Junlin
Rèn Jùnlín
(born 1936)
31 July 1985 12 May 1996 Nationalist Party Xuantong
Ren Junlin had previously been the Minister of Justice prior to being appointed Prime Minister by the Xuantong Emperor, being the last during his reign. He began overseeing China's transition into the post-Cold War era in the early 1990s, and stepped down after the death of the Xuantong Emperor. He remained influential as one of the 'leaders' of the senior Xuantong era statesmen going into the 21st century and the Hongxian era, wielding influence as the Chief Secretary of the Grand Council until being removed 2004.
13 Jiang Qinghong
Jiāng Qìnghóng
(born 1945)
30 May 1996 9 December 2001 Royalist Party Hongxian
The first Prime Minister during the reign of the Hongxian Emperor, Jiang had been the Imperial Foreign Minister from 1988 to 1996. He was considered part of the older generation of statesmen from the Xuantong Emperor's generation who remained in power in the early Hongxian era, but were removed by the Hongxian Emperor in the early to mid 2000s to be replaced with his own loyalists. Jiang was replaced by Zhao Rui in 2001 as premier, and as of 2020 was also the last Royalist Party member to serve as premier.
14 Zhang Gaoli Saint Petersburg 2013.jpg Zhao Rui
Zhào Ruì
(born 1951)
10 December 2001 23 January 2019 Nationalist Party Hongxian
Originally a diplomat, he served as the Imperial Foreign Minister from 1996 to 2001 before being appointed Prime Minister by the Hongxian Emperor. During his tenure as Foreign Minister, Zhao helped with the Emperor's initiative to improve relations with the West, particularly Europe but also the Anglo-American states. He became the longest serving Prime Minister, overseeing China's increasing role in international politics as a great power, and was seen as a close ally of Emperor Hongxian.
15 Tang Jiaxuan 01.jpg Yang Wenli
Yáng Wénlì
(born 1956)
24 January 2019 16 January 2020 Nationalist Party Hongxian
A banker, economist, and professor, Yang Wenli served as the Governor of the Imperial Bank of China from 2001 to 2017. He oversaw China's monetary policy as it rose to be the world's largest economy and major player in global financial markets. He was appointed by the Emperor due to the increasing tensions with Anglo-American countries over trade policy and other economic issues in China in January 2019. After a year in office, in January 2020 Yang chose to resign due to disagreements with the Hongxian Emperor on his proposed constitutional reforms.
16 LU Zhongwei.jpg Lu Zhongwei
Lù Zhōngwěi
(born 1961)
16 January 2020 Nationalist Party Hongxian
An officer of the security services, he was the Director-General of the Investigative Committee of China from 2003 to 2017 and had also been the Chief Secretary of the Grand Council from 2017 until 2020.