Veteran of the China's 1949 revolution. Joined Chinese Communist Party in 1923 as a founding member of the Shanxi Province CP. Arrested in 1929 but continued underground political activities while imprisoned. He was released from prison in 1935 and began organizing a resistance movement against the invading Japanese forces. Around the same time, he was appointed the Organization Department Director of the North Bureau of CCP. He is credited with substantial efforts towards the 1948 liberation of Beiping (renamed Beijing in 1949).
Peng was a member of multiple Central Committees and the Secretariat of the Central Committee. He also held the positions of First Secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee, Mayor of Beijing (1951), Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission CCP Central Committee (1980), and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Sixth National People's Congress (1983).
Peng fell out of favor with Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution, but he survived to continue his role within the CCP. Peng retired from his leading political decisions in 1988 but continued to support the central collective leadership of China up to the time of his death.