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Xi Jinping: China’s Next President

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Xi Jinping

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping smiles as he meets with members of the delegation of South African President Jacob Zuma at the Great Hall of the People on August 25, 2010 in Beijing, China.

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Xi Jinping is vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission and a member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau Standing Committee, a group of 24-people who oversee China’s 78 million-member Communist Party. Xi Jinping is expected to be the next president of China when Hu Jintao steps down in 2012.

Name: Xi Jinping (习近平)

Gender: Male

Date of Birth: June 1, 1953

Place of Birth: Beijing, China

Who Is Xi Jinping?:

Xi Jinping joined the Communist Party in 1969 and has held jobs with the Communist Party for his entire career. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, Xi became secretary of the General Office of the Central Military Commission within the General Office of the State Council.
In the 1980’s Xi continued his rise up the Communist Party ranks by serving in various positions, including vice-secretary of the Zhengding County Committee in Hebei Province in northeast China and vice-mayor of the Xiamen Municipal Committee in China’s southeastern Fujian province. Xi closed out the decade as secretary of the Ningde Local Committee while also serving as the first secretary of the Ningde Military Sub-district’s party committee. Ningde is a county in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province.
In the 1990’s, Xi had a string of promotions in Fujian Province. In 1990, Xi became head of the Fuzhou Military’s Party Committee. Xi joined the Standing Committee of the Fujian Political Committee in 1993 and became the deputy secretary of Fujian Province in 1995. In 1999, Xi was promoted to acting governor of the Fujian Provincial Committee and finally governor in 2000.
Xi became the deputy secretary of Zhejiang province, a larger province also located in southeastern China, in 2002. Xi quickly acquired successively higher positions within the Zhejiang provincial government, including acting governor in 2002. Xi became the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Zhejiang Provincial People’s Congress, the province’s legislative body, while simultaneously serving as first secretary of the Zhejiang Military District’s Party committee.

In 2007, Xi was transferred to Shanghai to serve in the top leadership role of chief secretary of the Shanghai Municipality, replacing Chen Liangyu (陈良宇), who was accused of misusing government funds. Xi then moved quickly to a powerful position in the national government. He was made a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, the nine-member group that leads China’s policy making. A year later, Xi became China’s vice president.

In October 2010, Xi was promoted to vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, making him the second highest-ranking civilian in the military leadership group which controls the People’s Liberation Army, China’s national army.

Why You Should Know Xi Jinping:

While relatively unknown to most Chinese a decade ago, Xi’s fame rose after his appointment to chief secretary in Shanghai. He became a household name when he was appointed China’s vice president.

Why Xi Jinping Is Potentially China’s Next President?:

Like his predecessors, Xi has risen through the ranks of the Communist Party, though many attribute his early connections to his father, Xi Zhongxun (习仲勋), who was China’s vice premier and vice chairman of China’s legislature.

Xi attended Tsinghua University, where current president Hu went to school, and has been appointed vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, a role given to Hu before he became president. This appointment is seen as an indication that Xi is the heir apparent to China’s presidency.

Xi Jinping’s Life:

Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, served as vice premier and vice chairman of China’s legislature. Xi’s father was accused of being disloyal to Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution. During the Cultural Revolution, Xi Jinping worked on a farm in the countryside.

Xi attended Tsinghua University in Beijing where he earned a bachelor’s degree from the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1979. In 2002, Xi earned a graduate law degree from Tsinghua University’s College of Humanities where he concentrated on Marxist Theory and Ideological Education. Xi’s first job was in a youth brigade in Shaanxi Province where he served as secretary.

Xi’s is married to Peng Liyuan (彭丽媛), a folk singer who was popular in the 1980s. They have one daughter, Xi Mingze (习明泽), who was born in 1992.

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