(June 15, 1953 AD～?Present)
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Xi Jinping (pinyin: Xí Jìnpíng; pronounced [ɕǐ tɕîmpʰǐŋ], born 15 June 1953) is the leader of the Communist Party of China in the People's Republic of China, who holds the positions of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Chairman of the Party Central Military Commission, Vice President of China, President of the Central Party School and the first member of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top power organ. He is expected to become President and Chairman of the State CMC in early 2013 when the full National People's Congress convenes and is expected to hold the position for two five-year terms. He has served as the top-ranked member of the Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, the Vice-Chairman of the State Central Military Commission.
Son of communist veteran Xi Zhongxun (1913–2002), Xi Jinping served mostly in Fujian province in his early career. He was later appointed party chief of the neighboring Zhejiang, and then was appointed as Shanghai's party chief following the dismissal of Chen Liangyu. Known for his tough stance on corruption and a frank openness about political and market economy reforms, Xi now heads the Communist Party of China's fifth generation of leadership.
Life and career
Xi Jinping was born on 15 June 1953 in Beijing and is, by Chinese convention, a native of Fuping County, Shaanxi. His ancestral home is at Xiying in Dengzhou, Henan. As a result of his upbringing in the Beijing environ, Xi is the first paramount leader to speak clear, provincial-accent-free Mandarin. He is the second son of Xi Zhongxun, one of the founders of the Communist guerrilla movement in Shaanxi and former Vice-Premier. At the time, his father served as the head of the Communist Party's propaganda department and later Vice-Chairman of the National People's Congress. His mother was Qi Xin. When Xi was 10, his father was purged and sent to work in a factory in Luoyang. Xi was 15 when his father was jailed in 1968, during the Cultural Revolution. Without the protection of his father, Xi went to work in Yanchuan County, Shaanxi, in 1969 in Mao Zedong's Down to the Countryside Movement. He later became the Party branch secretary of the production team. When he left in 1975, he was only 22 years old. When asked about this experience later by state television, Xi recalled it saying, "It was emotional. It was a mood. And when the ideals of the Cultural Revolution could not be realised, it proved an illusion."
From 1975 to 1979, Xi studied chemical engineering at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University, however, he graduated from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, majoring in Marxist theory and ideological education. From 1979 to 1982 he served as secretary for his father's former subordinate Geng Biao, the then vice premier and Secretary-General of the Central Military Commission. This gained Xi some military background. In 1985, as part of a Chinese delegation to study American agriculture, he visited the town of Muscatine, Iowa.
Xi joined the Communist Youth League in 1971 and the Communist Party of China in 1974. In 1982 he was sent to Zhengding County in Hebei as Deputy Secretary to the CPC Zhengding County Committee, and was promoted in 1983 to Secretary of the CPC Zhengding County Committee. Xi subsequently served in four provinces during his political career: Shaanxi (during the Cultural Revolution, 1969—1975), Hebei (1982-1985), Fujian (1985-2002), and Zhejiang (2002-2007).
Xi held Party positions in the CPC Fuzhou Municipal Committee, and became the president of the Party School in Fuzhou in 1990. In 1999 he was promoted to the Deputy Governor of Fujian province, then became Governor a year later. While there he made efforts to attract investment from Taiwan and to boost free market economy. In February 2000 he and provincial Party Secretary Chen Mingyi were called before the top four members of the Party Central Politburo Standing Committee – General Secretary, President Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-President Hu Jintao and Discipline Inspection head Wei Jianxing to explain aspects of the Yuanhua scandal.
In 2002 Xi took up senior government and Party positions in Zhejiang Province, and eventually took over as party chief after several months as acting Governor, becoming the first-in-charge in the economically successful coastal province. Xi was then made an alternate member of the 15th CPC Central Committee and holds the membership of the 16th CPC Central Committee, marking his ascension to the national stage. While in Zhejiang, one of China's most affluent provinces and a center of China's successful economic development, Xi provided the economic environment which secured growth rates averaging 14% per year. His career in Zhejiang was marked by tough and straightforward stance against corrupt officials, which earned him a name on the national media and drew the attention of China's top leaders.
Following the dismissal of Shanghai Party Chief Chen Liangyu in September 2006 due to a social security fund scandal, Xi was transferred to Shanghai in March 2007 to become the new Party Chief of Shanghai. Xi's appointment to one of the most important regional posts in China was clearly a sign of confidence from the Central Government. While in Shanghai he was careful not to touch any controversial issues while largely echoing the line of the central leadership. Xi's career is notable in that during his regional tenures, he was never implicated in any serious scandals, nor did he face serious political opposition.
Joining the Standing Committee and Vice-Presidency
Xi's appointment to the Party Secretary post in Shanghai was seen as a stepping stone for him to become an emerging member of the fifth generation of Chinese leadership. This was solidified by his appointment as a member of the nine-man Politburo Standing Committee at the 17th Party Congress in October 2007. Xi was ranked above Li Keqiang, which made him the most likely candidate for China's next core figure – the paramount leader. In addition, Xi also held the top-ranking membership of the Communist Party's Central Secretariat. This assessment was further supported at the 11th National People's Congress, Xi was elected as Vice-President of the People's Republic of China on 15 March 2008. Some suggest this was because Xi had kept friendly relations with both Hu Jintao and the other power figure in the central leadership, Zeng Qinghong.
Since his elevation Xi has held a broad range of portfolios. He was put in charge of the comprehensive preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, as well as being the central government's leading figure in Hong Kong and Macau affairs. In addition, he also became the new President of the Central Party School, the cadre-training and ideological education wing of the Communist Party. In the wake of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, Xi visited disaster areas in Shaanxi and Gansu. Xi made his first foreign visit after his vice presidency to visit North Korea, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen from 17 to 25 June 2008. After the Olympics, Xi was assigned the post of Committee Chair for the preparations of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of the founding of the People's Republic of China. He was also reportedly at the helm of a top-level Communist Party committee dubbed the 6521 Project, which was charged with ensuring social stability during a series of political sensitive anniversaries in 2009.
Xi is considered to be one of the most successful members of the Crown Prince Party, a quasi-clique of politicians who are descendants of early Chinese revolutionaries. Senior leaders consider Xi to be an emerging figure that is open to serious dialogue about deep-seated market economic reforms and even political reform, although Xi's personal political views are relatively murky.[clarification needed] He is generally popular with foreign dignitaries, who are intrigued by his openness and pragmatism. Former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, when asked about Xi, said he felt he was "a thoughtful man who has gone through many trials and tribulations." Lee also commented: "I would put him in the Nelson Mandela class of persons. A person with enormous emotional stability who does not allow his personal misfortunes or sufferings affect his judgment. In other words, he is impressive". Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson described Xi as "the kind of guy who knows how to get things over the goal line." Former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, commented on October 4, 2012: China's new president and party secretary general, Xi Jinping, (who) has sufficient reformist, party and military background to be very much his own man.
Tours as Vice President
In February 2009, in his capacity as Vice-President, Xi Jinping embarked on a tour of Latin America, visiting Mexico, Jamaica, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil to promote Chinese ties in the region and boost the country's reputation in the wake of the global financial crisis. He also visited Valletta, Malta before returning to China.
On 11 February, while visiting Mexico, Xi spoke in front of a group of overseas Chinese and explained China's contributions to the financial crisis, saying that it was "the greatest contribution towards the whole of human race, made by China, to prevent its 1.3 billion people from hunger". He followed with a rather direct accusation for "foreigners" trying to interfere in Chinese affairs, a subject that has always been sensitive in Chinese political circles. In Chinese, Xi remarked: "There are some bored foreigners, with full stomachs, who have nothing better to do than point fingers at us [China]. First, China doesn't export revolution; second, China doesn't export hunger and poverty; third, China doesn't come and cause you headaches, what more is there to be said?" The story was reported on some local television stations. The news led to a flood of discussions on Chinese internet forums. It was reported that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was caught off-guard by Xi's non-diplomatic remarks, as the actual video was shot by some accompanying Hong Kong reporters and broadcast on Hong Kong TV, which then turned up in various internet video websites.
Xi has since gone on a series of foreign visits, some say to burnish his foreign affairs credentials before he takes the helm of China's leadership. Xi visited Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania from 7 to 21 October 2009. Xi visited Japan, South Korea, Cambodia and Myanmar on his Asian trip from 14 to 22 December 2009.
Xi visited the United States, Ireland and Turkey in February 2012. The visit included meeting with U.S President Barack Obama at the White House and Vice President Joe Biden, with whom he had met extensively in China in August 2011; and stops in California and Iowa, where he met with the family which previously hosted him during his 1985 tour as a Hebei provincial official. Noted as absent was a visit with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who has spoken critically about Chinese currency policy.
Xi was named as one of the most influential people in the world in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 Time 100 lists. The British magazine New Statesman listed Xi Jinping at number 4 in their annual survey of "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010". In September 2009, at the Fourth Plenum of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping was not selected as the Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) as expected, raising some questions about his succession. Political analyst Cheng Li believed that Xi's failure to secure the CMC promotion was evidence that the Communist Party was developing internal checks and balances, giving way to more sophisticated mechanisms for leadership succession. Xi was officially appointed to the vice-chairmanship on 18 October 2010, a position Hu Jintao once held back in 1999 before taking over the secretaryship and the presidency years later. By 2010, it appeared to be clear that Xi would succeed Hu as General Secretary and President in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
On 15 November 2012, Vice President Xi Jinping was elected to the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission by the Party Central Committee.
Xi first married Ke Lingling, the daughter of Ke Hua, an ambassador to Britain in the early 1980s. Little is known about their marriage other than that it ended in divorce within a few years. Xi married the famous Chinese folk singer Peng Liyuan (彭丽媛) in 1987. Peng Liyuan, a household name in China, was much better known to the public than Xi until his political elevation. The couple frequently lived apart due largely to their separate professional lives. They are sometimes considered China's emerging star political couple. They have a daughter named Xi Mingze (习明泽),[dead link] who enrolled as a freshman at Harvard University in the autumn of 2010 under a pseudonym.
Xi holds a bachelor degree in chemical engineering and a doctorate in political science.
Peng described Xi as hardworking and down-to-earth. "When he comes home, I've never felt as if there's some leader in the house. In my eyes, he's just my husband."
Xi was described in a 2011 The Washington Post article by those who know him as "pragmatic, serious, cautious, hard-working, down to earth and low-key." Xi was also described as a good hand at problem solving and "seemingly uninterested in the trappings of high office." He is also known to love Hollywood films like Saving Private Ryan and The Departed. The Guardian noted that "perhaps more surprisingly" he also praised the independent film maker Jia Zhangke.
Members of Xi's extended family have substantial business interests, although there is no evidence that they have been assisted by Xi's political position. The Chinese government censored this information, going as far as blocking Bloomberg's website after they reported it.