Last updated: March 20, 2023
The chart at the bottom of this page shows the State Council’s latest organizational structure during Premier Li Qiang’s first term (2023–). It was first published after the State Council’s March 2023 reorganization and was based on the official State Council organizational chart. The State Council’s organizational structure during Premier Li Keqiang’s second term (2018–23) is archived here.
The table immediately below explains the eight categories of State Council bodies (click to show). The various “deliberation and coordination agencies” [议事协调机构] are not included in the organizational chart, however, because there is no official list of them. Official English names are used in the chart where available.
Categories of State Council bodies explained
The two principal legal authorities governing the State Council’s organizational structure are the 1982 State Council Organic Law (“Organic Law”) [国务院组织法] and the 1997 Regulations on the Management of the Establishment and Staffing of the Administrative Agencies of the State Council (“Regulations”) [国务院行政机构设置和编制管理条例].
General Office of the State Council
|The General Office performs administrative tasks for the State Council, assisting the State Council leadership in “handling the [body’s] day-to-day work” (Regulations art. 6, para. 2). It is headed by the Secretary General of the State Council (Organic Law art. 7, para. 3).|
Departments Constituting the State Council
|These departments “perform the basic administrative functions of the State Council” (Regulations art. 6, para. 3). They consist of the cabinet-level ministries and commissions, as well as the People’s Bank of China and the National Audit Office. The establishment, dissolution, or merger of these departments are subject to legislative approval (Organic Law art. 8).|
Special Organization Directly Under the State Council
|There is only one such organization: the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), established in 2003. The SASAC oversees central state-owned (non-financial) enterprises on behalf of the central government. It was placed in a special category because its authority to manage only state-owned enterprises was thought to distinguish it from both traditional administrative agencies and public institutions.|
Organizations Directly Under the State Council
|These organizations are each in charge of certain “specialized work” and perform “independent administrative functions” (Regulations art. 6, para. 4). They have no parent organization other than the State Council itself.|
Administrative Offices Under the State Council
|These offices, under the Regulations, are supposed to only assist the Premier with “specialized matters” and have no “independent administrative functions” (Regulations art. 6, para. 5). That is no longer true in the case of the Cyberspace Administration of China, however, as it is now a regulatory agency with the authority to issue and enforce rules.|
Public Institutions Under the State Council
|These institutions include state media outlets, governmental research institutions, as well as one entity that, while not an administrative agency per se, has been vested by law with regulatory powers: the China Meteorological Administration.|
National Administrations Under the Ministries and Commissions
|These administrations used to be called “national administrative agencies managed by the departments constituting the State Council” [国务院组成部门管理的国家行政机构] (Regulations art. 6, para. 6). They are semi-independent bodies that perform administrative functions, subject to oversight by their parent organizations (id.).|
Deliberation and Coordination Bodies Under the State Council
|These bodies are responsible for “organizing and coordinating important tasks” across State Council agencies (Regulations art. 6, para. 7). Generally, such a body may not perform administrative functions in its own name; rather, its decisions are to be implemented by its member agencies separately (id.). Some of these bodies are established directly by statutes or regulations, such as the Anti-Monopoly Committee [国务院反垄断委员会], while the rest (often called “leading groups” [领导小组]) are formed by the State Council on a quasi-permanent basis, such as the Leading Group on Employment [国务院就业工作领导小组], established in 2019.|
The following table translates and explains the several Chinese phrases for describing dual institutional identities that are used in the organizational chart. Communist Party entities with nominal state identities are each marked with a red star (★) in the chart.
(A also has nameplate B)
|A is “aka” B||A is the entity’s dominant role, while B is necessary because the entity performs certain functions that are not adequately described by A. This relationship typically arises when an entity acquires new functions (covered by B) during a State Council reorganization.|
(A keeps nameplate B externally)
|A is “externally aka” B||This relationship typically arises when A absorbs the functions of B, previously a separate agency or an agency under A, and B is then dissolved. A is the new entity’s dominant role, but maintaining B is necessary because of, for instance, the body’s strategic importance or the need to interact with foreign counterparts.|
(A keeps its nameplate at B)
|A has its “functions performed by” B||This relationship, in which A is a State identity and B is a Communist Party identity, first appeared after the 2018 State Council reorganization. B has in effect absorbed A, which now exists in name only (presumably to maintain a technical, formal distinction between the Party and the State). In addition to its preexisting functions, B now also performs A’s.|
(A and B are the same entity with two nameplates)
|A is the “same as” B||In this relationship, too, there is only one real entity, which wears both a State (A) and a Party (B) hat. Organizationally, the entity is a Party entity, as it is always described as being included in the order of a certain category of Party institutions (e.g., “列入中共中央直属机构序列”).|