Strangely the Wikipedia article for president 中华人民共和国主席 doesn't mention 习近平 anywhere.

I also asked my mother in law just now if she spotted any articles where it mentions him as the incoming president 国家主席 but neither of us could spot one, although there are a many English papers making the claim today.

Now this could be something to do with politics that I am not aware with, but even if that is the case it may explain why there isn't a word for incoming president (possibly)? Or maybe nobody has gotten round to update the wikipedia article.

So can someone explain why I am not seeing many articles in Chinese using 国家主席 to describe 习近平? Is there a Chinese equivelant of incoming president, if so is it typically applied in Chinese politics or is it not used out of respect until the previous person has gone?

3 Answers 3


即将就任 is the term used to describe incoming. Example 即将就任的国家主席. Normally, the Chinese word for president is 总统 and 主席 is usually used to describe chairman or chairperson. I note that China has changed the title of 国家主席 from Chairman to President from 1983 onwards.

The appointment 国家主席 is rather symbolic in nature as the real power lies with other political appointments (中国共产党中央委员会总书记 and 中国共产党中央军事委员会主席) that usually precedes it. As of current, 习近平 has yet been appointed 国家主席, but he already held the two most important appointments.

  1. He's not 国家主席 at present. Only vice.
  2. 国家主席 is not important as Secretary General(总书记) or chairman of Military Commission(军委主席). 国家主席 is only a title usually.

That is because now he is only elected to be the Secretary General of the CPC, but not the President of China.

Although it is almost certain that he would be the next president, he still has to be elected in the next National People's Congress which will be held early next year. Before the election, he is NOT the incoming President of China, just a (possible) presidential candidate (I don't know how and when the candidates are selected).


The incoming president can be called " 候任 总统".

A search for "候任" also give me many results from the Internet, including the Office of the Chief Executive-elect of Hong Kong (候任行政长官办公室).


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