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The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from China

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This page contains a list of the greatest Chinese Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,577 Politicians, 465 of which were born in China. This makes China the birth place of the 9th most number of Politicians behind Spain and Turkey.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Chinese Politicians of all time. This list of famous Chinese Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Chinese Politicians.

Photo of Mao Zedong

1. Mao Zedong (1893 - 1976)

With an HPI of 85.88, Mao Zedong is the most famous Chinese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 163 different languages on wikipedia.

Mao Zedong (26 December 1893 – 9 September 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the founder of the People's Republic of China (PRC), which he led as the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party from the establishment of the PRC in 1949 until his death in 1976. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist, his theories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known as Maoism. Mao was the son of a prosperous peasant in Shaoshan, Hunan. He supported Chinese nationalism and had an anti-imperialist outlook early in his life, and was particularly influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and May Fourth Movement of 1919. He later adopted Marxism–Leninism while working at Peking University as a librarian and became a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), leading the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927. During the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang (KMT) and the CCP, Mao helped to found the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, led the Jiangxi Soviet's radical land reform policies, and ultimately became head of the CCP during the Long March. Although the CCP temporarily allied with the KMT under the Second United Front during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), China's civil war resumed after Japan's surrender, and Mao's forces defeated the Nationalist government, which withdrew to Taiwan in 1949. On 1 October 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the PRC, a Marxist–Leninist single-party state controlled by the CCP. In the following years he solidified his control through the Chinese Land Reform against landlords, the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, the "Three-anti and Five-anti Campaigns", and through a psychological victory in the Korean War, which altogether resulted in the deaths of several million Chinese. From 1953 to 1958, Mao played an important role in enforcing planned economy in China, constructing the first Constitution of the PRC, launching the industrialisation program, and initiating military projects such as the "Two Bombs, One Satellite" project and Project 523. His foreign policies during this time were dominated by the Sino-Soviet split which drove a wedge between China and the Soviet Union. In 1955, Mao launched the Sufan movement, and in 1957 he launched the Anti-Rightist Campaign, in which at least 550,000 people, mostly intellectuals and dissidents, were persecuted. In 1958, he launched the Great Leap Forward that aimed to rapidly transform China's economy from agrarian to industrial, which led to the deadliest famine in history and the deaths of 15–55 million people between 1958 and 1962. In 1963, Mao launched the Socialist Education Movement, and in 1966 he initiated the Cultural Revolution, a program to remove "counter-revolutionary" elements in Chinese society which lasted 10 years and was marked by violent class struggle, widespread destruction of cultural artifacts, and an unprecedented elevation of Mao's cult of personality. Tens of millions of people were persecuted during the Revolution, while the estimated number of deaths ranges from hundreds of thousands to millions. After years of ill health, Mao suffered a series of heart attacks in 1976 and died at the age of 82. During Mao's era, China's population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million while the government did not strictly enforce its family planning policy. A controversial figure within and outside China, Mao is still regarded as one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century. Beyond politics, Mao is also known as a theorist, military strategist, and poet. During the Mao era, China was heavily involved with other southeast Asian communist conflicts such as the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cambodian Civil War, which brought the Khmer Rouge to power. The government during Mao's rule was responsible for vast numbers of deaths with estimates ranging from 40 to 80 million victims through starvation, persecution, prison labour, and mass executions. Mao has been praised for transforming China from a semi-colony to a leading world power, with greatly advanced literacy, women's rights, basic healthcare, primary education and life expectancy.

Photo of Qin Shi Huang

2. Qin Shi Huang (-258 - -210)

With an HPI of 85.17, Qin Shi Huang is the 2nd most famous Chinese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 172 different languages.

Qin Shi Huang (Chinese: 秦始皇, pronunciation ; 259–210 BC) was the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of "king" (王 wáng) borne by the previous Shang and Zhou rulers, he ruled as the First Emperor (始皇帝) of the Qin dynasty from 221 to 210 BC. His self-invented title "emperor" (皇帝 huángdì) would continue to be borne by Chinese rulers for the next two millennia. Historically, he was often portrayed as a tyrannical ruler and strict Legalist, in part from the Han dynasty's scathing assessments of him. Since the mid 20th-century, scholars have begun to question this evaluation, inciting considerable discussion on the actual nature of his policies and reforms. Regardless, according to sinologist Michael Loewe "few would contest the view that the achievements of his reign have exercised a paramount influence on the whole of China's subsequent history, marking the start of an epoch that closed in 1911".Born in the Zhao state capital Handan, as Ying Zheng (嬴政) or Zhao Zheng (趙政), his parents were King Zhuangxiang of Qin and Lady Zhao. The wealthy merchant Lü Buwei assisted him in succeeding his father as the ruler of Qin, after which he became Zheng, King of Qin (秦王政). By the age of 38 in 221 BC, he had conquered all the other Warring States and unified all of China, and he ascended the throne as China's first emperor. During his reign, his generals greatly expanded the size of the Chinese state: campaigns south of Chu permanently added the Yue lands of Hunan and Guangdong to the Chinese cultural orbit, and campaigns in Inner Asia conquered the Ordos Loop from the nomadic Xiongnu, although the Xiongnu later rallied under Modu Chanyu. Qin Shi Huang also worked with his minister Li Si to enact major economic and political reforms aimed at the standardization of the diverse practices of the earlier Chinese states. He is traditionally said to have banned and burned many books and executed scholars. His public works projects included the incorporation of diverse state walls into a single Great Wall of China and a massive new national road system, as well as his city-sized mausoleum guarded by a life-sized Terracotta Army. He ruled until his death in 210 BC, during his fifth tour of Eastern China.

Photo of Huang Xianfan

3. Huang Xianfan (1899 - 1982)

With an HPI of 82.93, Huang Xianfan is the 3rd most famous Chinese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 166 different languages.

Huang Xianfan (zhuang: Vangz Yenfanh; simplified Chinese: 黄现璠; traditional Chinese: 黄現璠; pinyin: Huáng Xiànfán; Wade–Giles: Huáng Hsiènfán) (November 13, 1899 – January 18, 1982) was a Zhuang Chinese historian, ethnologist and educator.He was the first college graduate of Zhuang ethnicity and trained at Peking National University under leading historians and linguists in the 1920s. Huang was the first writer of a general history of the Zhuang nationality, but also a major advocate of the theory that there was no slavery society in the history of the Zhuang, and there was no slave society as a stage of social development in Chinese history.The General History of the Zhuang is the first research book on the history of Zhuang nationality and The "Bagui School" he created is the first school of ethnic studies in China.Huang is considered one of the founders of modern Chinese ethnology.

Photo of Deng Xiaoping

4. Deng Xiaoping (1904 - 1997)

With an HPI of 79.44, Deng Xiaoping is the 4th most famous Chinese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 97 different languages.

Deng Xiaoping (22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997) was a Chinese revolutionary leader, military commander and statesman who served as the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from December 1978 to November 1989. After CCP chairman Mao Zedong's death in 1976, Deng gradually rose to supreme power and led China through a series of far-reaching market-economy reforms earning him the reputation as the "Architect of Modern China". He contributed to China becoming the world's second largest economy by GDP nominal in 2010.Born in the province of Sichuan in the Qing dynasty, Deng studied and worked in France in the 1920s, where he became a follower of Marxism–Leninism and joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1924. In early 1926, Deng travelled to Moscow to study Communist doctrines and became a political commissar for the Red Army upon returning to China. In late 1929, Deng led local Red Army uprisings in Guangxi. In 1931, he was demoted within the party due to his support of Mao, but was promoted again during the Zunyi Conference. Deng played an important role in the Long March (1934–1935), the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) and the Chinese Civil War (1945–1949). Following the founding of the PRC on 1 October 1949, Deng worked in Tibet as well as in southwest China as the regional party chief to consolidate CCP control until 1952, when he returned to Beijing to serve in the central government. In 1955, when the PLA adopted a Russian-style rank system, Deng was considered for the rank of Marshal of the People's Republic of China, which he declined to accept. As the party's Secretary-General under Chairman Mao Zedong and Vice Premier under Premier Zhou Enlai in the 1950s, Deng presided over the Anti-Rightist Campaign launched by Mao and became instrumental in China's economic reconstruction following the disastrous Great Leap Forward (1958–1960). However, his right-leaning political stance and economic policies eventually caused him to fall out of favor with Mao, and he was purged twice during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). Following Mao's death in September 1976, Deng outmaneuvered the late chairman's chosen successor Hua Guofeng and became China's de facto paramount leader in December 1978 at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee. Having inherited a country beset with institutional disorder and disenchantment with Communism resulting from the chaotic political movements of the Mao era, Deng started the "Boluan Fanzheng" program which gradually brought the country back to order. From 1977 to early 1979, he resumed the National College Entrance Examination that had been interrupted by the Cultural Revolution for ten years, initiated the Reform and Opening-up of China, designated special economic zones including Shenzhen, and started a one-month Sino-Vietnamese War. On 1 January 1979, the PRC established diplomatic relations with the United States, and Deng became the first Chinese paramount leader to visit the U.S. In August 1980, Deng embarked on a series of political reforms by setting constitutional term limits for state officials and other systematic revisions, which were incorporated in China's third Constitution (1982). In the 1980s, Deng supported the one-child policy to cope with China's perceived overpopulation crisis, helped establish China's nine-year compulsory education, and launched the 863 Program for science and technology. Deng also proposed the One Country, Two Systems principle for the governance of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as the future unification with Taiwan. The reforms carried out by Deng and his allies gradually led China away from a planned economy and Maoist ideologies, opened it up to foreign investments and technology, and introduced its vast labor force to the global market, thus turning China into one of the world's fastest-growing economies. He was eventually characterized as the "architect" of a new brand of thinking combining socialist ideology with free enterprise, dubbed "socialism with Chinese characteristics" (now known as Deng Xiaoping Theory). Despite never holding office as either the PRC's head of state or head of government nor as the head of CCP, Deng is generally viewed as the "core" of the CCP's second-generation leadership, a status enshrined within the party's constitution. Deng was named the Time Person of the Year for 1978 and 1985. He was criticized for ordering a military crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, yet was praised for his reaffirmation of the reform program in his Southern Tour of 1992 as well as the reversion of Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997 and the return of Macau in 1999.

Photo of Sun Yat-sen

5. Sun Yat-sen (1866 - 1925)

With an HPI of 79.18, Sun Yat-sen is the 5th most famous Chinese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 117 different languages.

Sun Yat-sen (; also known by several other names; 12 November 1866 – 12 March 1925) was a Chinese statesman, physician, and political philosopher, who served as the first provisional president of the Republic of China and the first leader of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party of China). He is called the "Father of the Nation" in the Republic of China, and the "Forerunner of the Revolution" in the People's Republic of China for his instrumental role in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty during the Xinhai Revolution. Sun is unique among 20th-century Chinese leaders for being widely revered in both Mainland China and Taiwan.Sun is considered to be one of the greatest leaders of modern China, but his political life was one of constant struggle and frequent exile. After the success of the revolution in 1911, he quickly resigned as president of the newly founded Republic of China and relinquished it to Yuan Shikai. He soon went to exile in Japan for safety but returned to found a revolutionary government in the South as a challenge to the warlords who controlled much of the nation. In 1923, he invited representatives of the Communist International to Canton (Guangzhou) to re-organize his party and formed a brittle alliance with the Chinese Communist Party. He did not live to see his party unify the country under his successor, Chiang Kai-shek, in the Northern Expedition. He died in Peking (Beijing) of gallbladder cancer on 12 March 1925.Sun's chief legacy is his political philosophy known as the Three Principles of the People: Mínzú (民族主義, Mínzúzhǔyì) or nationalism (independence from foreign domination), Mínquán (民權主義, Mínquánzhǔyì) or "rights of the people" (sometimes translated as "democracy"), and Mínshēng (民生主義, Mínshēngzhǔyì) or people's livelihood (sometimes translated as "communitarianism" or "welfare").

Photo of Kublai Khan

6. Kublai Khan (1215 - 1294)

With an HPI of 78.17, Kublai Khan is the 6th most famous Chinese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 97 different languages.

Kublai (23 September 1215 – 18 February 1294), also known by his temple name as the Emperor Shizu of Yuan and his regnal name Setsen Khan, was the founder of the Yuan dynasty of China and the fifth khagan-emperor of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294, although after the division of the empire this was a nominal position. He proclaimed the empire's dynastic name "Great Yuan" in 1271, and ruled Yuan China until his death in 1294. Kublai was the second son of Tolui by his chief wife Sorghaghtani Beki, and a grandson of Genghis Khan. He was almost 12 when Genghis Khan died in 1227. He had succeeded his older brother Möngke as Khagan in 1260, but had to defeat his younger brother Ariq Böke in the Toluid Civil War lasting until 1264. This episode marked the beginning of the fragmentation of the empire. Kublai's real power was limited to the Yuan Empire, even though as Khagan he still had influence in the Ilkhanate and, to a significantly lesser degree, in the Golden Horde. If one considers the Mongol Empire at that time as a whole, his realm reached from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea, from Siberia to what is now Afghanistan.In 1271, Kublai established the Yuan dynasty and formally claimed orthodox succession from prior Chinese dynasties. The Yuan dynasty came to rule over most of present-day China, Mongolia, Korea, southern Siberia, and other adjacent areas. He also amassed influence in the Middle East and Europe as khagan. By 1279, the Yuan conquest of the Song dynasty was completed and Kublai became the first non-Han emperor to rule all of China proper. The imperial portrait of Kublai was part of an album of the portraits of Yuan emperors and empresses, now in the collection of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. White, the color of the imperial costume of Kublai, was the imperial color of the Yuan dynasty based on the Chinese philosophical concept of the Five Elements.

Photo of Xi Jinping

7. Xi Jinping (1953 - )

With an HPI of 77.64, Xi Jinping is the 7th most famous Chinese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 128 different languages.

Xi Jinping (English: SHEE jin-PING; Chinese: 习近平; pinyin: Xí Jìnpíng; [ɕǐ tɕîn pʰǐŋ]; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician who has served as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), and thus as the paramount leader of China, since 2012. Xi has also served as the president of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since 2013. The son of Chinese Communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, Xi was exiled to rural Yanchuan County as a teenager following his father's purge during the Cultural Revolution. He lived in a yaodong in the village of Liangjiahe, Shaanxi province, where he joined the CCP after several failed attempts and worked as the local party secretary. After studying chemical engineering at Tsinghua University as a worker-peasant-soldier student, Xi rose through the ranks politically in China's coastal provinces. Xi was governor of Fujian from 1999 to 2002, before becoming governor and party secretary of neighboring Zhejiang from 2002 to 2007. Following dismissal of the party secretary of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to replace him for a brief period in 2007. He subsequently joined the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) of the CCP the same year and served as first secretary of the Central Secretariat in October 2007. In 2008, he was designated as Hu Jintao's presumed successor as paramount leader; to that end, Xi was appointed vice president of the PRC and vice chairman of the CMC. He officially received the title of leadership core from the CCP in 2016. Xi is the first CCP general secretary born after the establishment of the PRC. Since assuming power, Xi has introduced far-ranging measures to enforce party discipline and to impose internal unity. His anti-corruption campaign led to the downfall of prominent incumbent and retired CCP officials, including a former member of the PSC. He has also enacted or promoted a more aggressive foreign policy, particularly with regard to China's relations with the U.S., the nine-dash line in the South China Sea, the Sino-Indian border dispute, and the political status of Taiwan. He has sought to expand China's African and Eurasian influence through the Belt and Road Initiative. Xi has expanded support for state-owned enterprises (SOEs), advanced military-civil fusion, overseen targeted poverty alleviation programs, and has attempted to reform the property sector. He has also promoted "common prosperity", a series of policies designed with stated goal to increase equality, and used the term to justify a broad crackdown and major slew of regulations against the tech and tutoring sectors in 2021. Xi met with Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou in 2015, the first time PRC and Republic of China leaders met, though relations deteriorated after Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the presidential elections in 2016. He responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China with a zero-COVID approach, continuing it (as of December 2022) even after most other countries had shifted to a mitigation strategy. Xi also oversaw the passage of a national security law in Hong Kong, clamping down on political opposition in the city, especially pro-democracy activists. Often described as an authoritarian leader by political and academic observers, Xi's tenure has included: an increase of censorship and mass surveillance; deterioration in human rights, including the internment of one million Uyghurs in Xinjiang (which some observers have described as part of a genocide); a cult of personality developing around Xi; and the removal of term limits for the presidency in 2018. Xi's political ideas and principles, known as Xi Jinping Thought, have been incorporated into the party and national constitutions, and he has emphasized the importance of national security and the need for CCP leadership over the country. As the central figure of the fifth generation of leadership of the PRC, Xi has centralized institutional power by taking on multiple positions, including chairing the National Security Commission and new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring and modernization, and the Internet. He and the CCP Central Committee passed a "historical resolution" in November 2021, the third such resolution after Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. In October 2022, Xi secured a third term as CCP General Secretary, the second leader of the CCP to do so (the other being Mao).

Photo of Puyi

8. Puyi (1906 - 1967)

With an HPI of 77.19, Puyi is the 8th most famous Chinese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 71 different languages.

Aisin-Gioro Puyi (Chinese: 溥儀; 7 February 1906 – 17 October 1967), courtesy name Yaozhi (曜之), was the last emperor of China as the eleventh and final Qing dynasty monarch. He became emperor at the age of two in 1908, but was forced to abdicate on 12 February 1912 during the Xinhai Revolution. His era name as Qing emperor, Xuantong (Hsuan-tung, 宣統), means "proclamation of unity". He was later installed as the Emperor Kangde (康德) of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo during World War II. He was briefly restored to the throne as Qing emperor by the loyalist General Zhang Xun from 1 July to 12 July 1917. He was first wed to Empress Wanrong in 1922 in an arranged marriage. In 1924, he was expelled from the palace and found refuge in Tianjin, where he began to court both the warlords fighting for hegemony over China and the Japanese who had long desired control of China. In 1932, after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, the puppet state of Manchukuo was established by Japan, and he was chosen to become the chief executive of the new state using the era name of "Datong" (Ta-tung). In 1934, he was declared emperor of Manchukuo with the era name "Kangde" (Kang-te) and reigned over his new empire until the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1945. This third stint as emperor saw him as a puppet of Japan; he signed most edicts the Japanese gave him. During this period, he largely resided in the Salt Tax Palace, where he regularly ordered his servants beaten. His first wife's opium addiction consumed her during these years, and they were generally distant. He took on numerous concubines, as well as male lovers. With the fall of Japan (and thus Manchukuo) in 1945, Puyi fled the capital and was eventually captured by the Soviets; he was extradited to the People's Republic of China in 1950. After his capture, he never saw his first wife again; she died of starvation in a Chinese prison in 1946. Puyi was a defendant at the Tokyo Trials and was later imprisoned and reeducated as a war criminal for 10 years. After his release in 1959, he wrote his memoirs (with the help of a ghost writer) and became a titular member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. His time in prison greatly changed him, and he expressed deep regret for his actions while he was an emperor. He died in 1967 and was ultimately buried near the Western Qing tombs in a commercial cemetery.

Photo of Hu Jintao

9. Hu Jintao (1942 - )

With an HPI of 76.99, Hu Jintao is the 9th most famous Chinese Politician.  His biography has been translated into 104 different languages.

Hu Jintao (born 21 December 1942) is a Chinese politician who served as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 2002 to 2012, president of the People's Republic of China (PRC) from 2003 to 2013, and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) from 2004 to 2012. He was a member of the CCP Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body, from 1992 to 2012. Hu was the paramount leader of China from 2002 to 2012.Hu rose to power through the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), notably as Party Committee secretary for Guizhou province and the Tibet Autonomous Region, where his harsh repression of dissent gained him attention from the highest levels. He moved up to first secretary of the CCP Central Secretariat and vice president under CCP general secretary Jiang Zemin. Hu was the first leader of the Communist Party from a generation younger than those who participated in the civil war and the founding of the republic. Influential sponsors from the older generation promoted his rapid rise, including Song Ping, Hu Yaobang, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin.During his term in office, Hu reintroduced state control in some sectors of the economy that were relaxed by the previous administration, and was conservative with political reforms. Along with his colleague Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, Hu presided over nearly a decade of consistent economic growth and development that cemented China as a major world power. He sought to improve socio-economic equality domestically through the Scientific Outlook on Development, which aimed to build a "Harmonious Socialist Society" that was prosperous and free of social conflict. Under his leadership, the authorities also cracked down on social disturbances, ethnic minority protests, and dissident figures, which also led to many controversial events such as the unrest in Tibet and the passing of the Anti-Secession Law. In foreign policy, Hu advocated for "China's peaceful development", pursuing soft power in international relations and a corporate approach to diplomacy. Throughout Hu's tenure, China's influence in Africa, Latin America, and other developing regions increased. Hu possessed a modest and reserved leadership style. His tenure was characterized by collective leadership and consensus-based rule. These traits made Hu a rather enigmatic figure in the public eye. His administration was known for its focus more on technocratic competence than persona. At the end of his tenure after ten years in office, Hu won praise for retiring voluntarily from all positions. He was succeeded by Xi Jinping, who did not follow this example. Following the death of his predecessor Jiang Zemin, Hu is the only living former Chinese president and former CCP general secretary (aka paramount leader).

Photo of Empress Dowager Cixi

10. Empress Dowager Cixi (1835 - 1908)

With an HPI of 76.89, Empress Dowager Cixi is the 10th most famous Chinese Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 87 different languages.

Empress Dowager Cixi (Chinese: 慈禧太后; pinyin: Cíxǐ Tàihòu [tsʰɨ̌.ɕì tʰâɪ.xôʊ]; Manchu: Tsysi taiheo; formerly romanised as Empress Dowager T'zu-hsi; 29 November 1835 – 15 November 1908), of the Manchu Yehe Nara clan, was a Chinese noblewoman, concubine and later regent who effectively controlled the Chinese government in the late Qing dynasty for 47 years, from 1861 until her death in 1908. Selected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856. After the Xianfeng Emperor's death in 1861, the young boy became the Tongzhi Emperor, and she assumed the role of co-empress dowager, alongside the Emperor's widow, Empress Dowager Ci'an. Cixi ousted a group of regents appointed by the late emperor and assumed the regency along with Ci'an, who later mysteriously died. Cixi then consolidated control over the dynasty when she installed her nephew as the Guangxu Emperor at the death of her son, the Tongzhi Emperor, in 1875. This was contrary to the traditional rules of succession of the Qing dynasty that had ruled China since 1644. Cixi supervised the Tongzhi Restoration, a series of moderate reforms that helped the regime survive until 1911. Although Cixi refused to adopt Western models of government, she supported technological and military reforms and the Self-Strengthening Movement. She supported the principles of the Hundred Days' Reforms of 1898, but feared that sudden implementation, without bureaucratic support, would be disruptive and that the Japanese and other foreign powers would take advantage of any weakness. She placed the Guangxu Emperor, who, she thought, had tried to assassinate her, under virtual house arrest for supporting radical reformers, publicly executing the main reformers. After the Boxer Rebellion led to invasion by Allied armies, Cixi initially backed the Boxer groups and declared war on the invaders. The ensuing defeat was a stunning humiliation. When Cixi returned to Beijing from Xi'an, where she had taken the emperor, she became friendly to foreigners in the capital and began to implement fiscal and institutional reforms aimed to turn China into a constitutional monarchy. The deaths of both Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor in November 1908 left the court in the hands of Manchu conservatives, a child, Puyi, on the throne, and a restless, deeply divided society. Historians both in China and abroad have debated her legacy. Conventionally denounced as a ruthless despot whose reactionary policies – although successfully self-serving in prolonging the ailing Qing dynasty – led to its humiliation and utter downfall in the Wuchang Uprising. Revisionists suggested that Nationalist and Communist revolutionaries scapegoated her for deep-rooted problems beyond salvage, and lauded her maintenance of political order. She was responsible for numerous effective, if belated reforms – including the abolition of slavery, ancient torturous punishments and the ancient examination system in her ailing years. The latter was supplanted by institutions including the new Peking University.

Pantheon has 465 people classified as politicians born between 2900 BC and 2000. Of these 465, 81 (17.42%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Xi Jinping, Hu Jintao, and Jiang Zemin. The most famous deceased politicians include Mao Zedong, Qin Shi Huang, and Huang Xianfan. As of April 2022, 61 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Empress Xiaoyichun, Jin Youzhi, and Zhuge Zhan.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2022)

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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.