During the third generation, led by Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji, the CCP deemphasized supreme leadership by one individual and transitioned to a more group-based decision-making process among a small handful of leaders on the Standing Committee of the Politburo.
The fourth generation is currently led by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao. The fifth generation, made up of well-connected Communist Youth League members and the children of high ranking officials, called ‘Princelings,’ will take over in 2012.
Power in China is based on a pyramid scheme with supreme power at the top. The Standing Committee of the Politburo holds supreme power. The Committee is responsible for maintaining the Party’s control of the state and military. Its members achieve this by holding the highest positions in the State Council, which oversees the government, the National People’s Congress- China’s rubber-stamp legislature, and the Central Military Commission, which runs the armed forces.
The base of the Communist Party includes provincial-level, county-level, and township-level People’s Congresses and Party Committees. Fewer than 6-percent of Chinese are members, yet it is the most powerful political party in the world.