Zhongnanhai is an area in central Beijing, China adjacent to the Forbidden City which serves as the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. The term Zhongnanhai is closely linked with the central government and senior Communist Party officials. It is a symbol of the Chinese leadership at large (in the same sense that the term White House frequently refers to the President of the United States and his associates).

The President of China, including Hu Jintao, and other top CPC and PRC leadership figures carry out many of their day-to-day administrative activities inside the compound, such as meetings with foreign dignitaries. However, the complex is shrouded in some mystery as it is closed to the general public, with photography additionally being strictly curtailed at several prominent locations such as the main gate. Since Zhongnanhai became the central government compound, it has been mostly inaccessible to the general public in the same way the Forbidden City was during the imperial era.

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