Project description

Every five years, China’s most powerful politicians gather behind closed doors in Beijing to pick a small committee to rule one-fifth of humanity. To shed light on the opaque and arcane process, a team of reporters and editors spent a month combing through the resumes of the seven dozen officials who reached the upper echelons of Communist Party power over the past quarter century. The information was analysed and presented in a series of data visualizations designed to not only show how cadres had risen in the past, but predict who might rise in the future.

What makes this project innovative?

The project is the first of its kind to collect comprehensive historical career information of current and past party leaders. The analysis and visualization done based on the data revealed trends that are otherwise hard to find in day to day reporting. This analysis allowed Bloomberg to objectively identify eight officials for advancement at the Communist Party's congress in October. All but one rose in the party hierarchy, while five joined its supreme body, the Politburo Standing Committee.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

The results shed new light on the opaque and arcane process of China's top party leader selection and provided a unique point of view in covering China's politics. The graphic should stand the test of time and provide valuable context when the party gathers again in five years to select its next leadership lineup.

Source and methodology

Communist Party of China, National Bureau of Statistics, People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, data compiled by Bloomberg

Technologies Used

d3.js, ai2html, R

Project members

Brendan Scott, Ting Shi, Keith Zhai, Yue Qiu, Adrian Leung, Jeremy Scott Diamond and Alex McIntyreAdditional assistance: Fielding Chen

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