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People's Liberation Army General Political Department

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Title: People's Liberation Army General Political Department  
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Subject: Central Military Commission (China), People's Liberation Army, Li Desheng, Xu Caihou, Zhang Yang (general)
Collection: Central Military Commission (China), People's Liberation Army
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

People's Liberation Army General Political Department

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The People's Liberation Army General Political Department (GPD; Central Military Commission of Communist Party of China. It leads all political activities in the People's Liberation Army.

Its former director-generals include Liu Shaoqi, Luo Ronghuan, Tan Zheng, Xiao Hua, Li Desheng, Zhang Chunqiao, Wei Guoqing, Yang Baibing, Yu Yongbo, Xu Caihou, and Li Jinai. Its current head is Zhang Yang.

During the Cultural Revolution

The General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army played an important role for Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution, through its control of "political departments" that were set up throughout the state apparatus.[1]

In the summer of 1964 before the Cultural Revolution, organizations called "political departments" were set up in throughout branches of the administration in China, in central and regional levels. Members were to study the works of Mao Zedong and emulate the army. These organizations were headed by the General Political Department, the organ by which Mao Zedong and Lin Biao exercised control over the armed forces. This made the economic "political department" also under command of the armed forces, rather than the Party's Central Committee. This effectively created a "parallel chain of command" which bypassed the Party. The role of the GDP during the Cultural Revolution meant that when the Party lines of command failed amidst chaos, alternative chains of command would be implemented. By 1966, before the Cultural Revolution began, this system was effective.[2]


The Director of the General Political Department:

There are four deputy directors:

There are two assistants to the director:

  • Lt. General Cen Xu (serving since December 2012)
  • Lt. General Cui Changjun (serving since December 2012)

The department also has a number of departments under it: the General Office, the Discipline Inspection Department, the Foreign Affairs Bureau General Office, the Justice Bureau General Office, Mass Work Bureau General Office, Cadre Department, Culture Department, Directly Subordinated Organs Work Department, Liaison Department, Organization Department, Propaganda Department, Security Department. The Department also oversees the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, the PLA Daily, the PLA Literature and Art Press (Kunlun Press), PLA Pictorial, and PLA Press.


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