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I have already met this phrase on many occassions, I guess it means a ranking less than the No. 1 boss when it is used in an official title, like常务副校长 is less or lower than 校长.

But when I read a report made by a local government official at the 14th China-ASEAN Expo, I saw that he mentioned "中国国务院常务副总理张高丽“, but as far as I know, there is no such an official title like that for this man or this post in Chinese Cabinet. But perhaps he wants to make others notice this man is the important person, with a ranking higher than other vice premiers his colleagues.

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  • see web: 中华人民共和国国务院副总理 Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, Generally, the title is held by multiple individuals at one time, with each Vice Premier holding a broad portfolio of responsibilities.Current Vice Premiers, in order of rank, are Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yandong, Wang Yang and Ma Ka,i.e. 张高丽 is the 1st vice premier, 总理出国访问期间,由负责常务工作的副总理代行总理职务。现任排名第一、负责国务院常务工作的副总理是张高丽 ,他同时兼任中共中央政治局常委和国务院党组副书记
    – user6065
    Oct 14 '17 at 5:52
  • it means that 'executive vice premier'. Oct 14 '17 at 5:59
  • @DanielYeung Do you mean there are some premiers who are non-executive? Oct 14 '17 at 7:10
  • @user6065 I understand Zhang's position is higher than other counterparts due to his standing membership of Politbureau, the top authority of the country. But Mr. Li Keqiang the priemier would not be absent from his post in his state visit for a long time. I learn from other sources that like for the People's Congress at grassroots the head is now more often than not assumed by the Party Secretary, but this man doesn't do the everyday work of the post since it is impossible for him to take care of so much at the same time, so it is necessary to appoint the vice chief of the congress the 常务. Oct 14 '17 at 7:18
  • see comment #1,常务 may not be part of the official title, even though according to 总理出国访问期间,由负责常务工作的副总理代行总理职务 it occurs in the description of his responsibilities: during premier's visits to other countries, assumes day-to-day responsibilities acting on his behalf (bkrs:代行 to act as a substitute to act on sb's behalf), 常务 also occurs as "standing,permanent" in various titles e.g.全国人民代表大会常务委员会 Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
    – user6065
    Oct 14 '17 at 8:18
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This term "常务" is originally from a Japanese term "常務取締役". The Chinese and Korean are still using the direct translation. For Chinese, it's "常务董事".

In an organization, the "常务" is more like "Executive". As the title suggests, they need to participate the daily operation of the organization rather than just providing dispassionate and objective criticism.

Since "常务" seems closer to an organization from "someone within an organization"'s perspective. So usually "常务" rank higher than normal vice-title.

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常务 is short for 日常/寻常/常规 事务. 常务副校长 is the position who would deal with those 日常/寻常/常规 事务. For more important things you have to go through 校长 or most authoritative group or department.

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