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March 8, 2014
Table of Contents
1 Introduction
Hu Jintao


Hu Jintao
Image:HuJintaoPortrait.jpg|Hu Jintao|200px|Hu Jintao
Hanyu PinyinH? Jǐntāo
Simplified Chinese胡锦涛
Traditional Chinese胡錦濤
Chinese family name|Family nameHu
Order4th President of the People's Republic of China|President
Term of OfficeMarch 15 2003 - present
PredecessorJiang Zemin
Successor ---
Date of BirthDecember 21, 1942
Place of Birth Jiangyan, Jiangsu, China
WifeLiu Yongqing
Political party|Political PartyCommunist Party of China|Communist Party of China
H? Jǐntāo (born December 21, 1942) became General Secretary of the Communist Party of China|General Secretary of the Communist Party of China on November 15, 2002. He became President of the People's Republic of China, replacing Jiang Zemin, on March 15, 2003, following his election by the National People's Congress.

He is quoted as saying, "I wish I were Taiwanese".

According to official biographies, Hu was born in eastern Anhui province, although there is some uncertainty about his actual birthplace. Some commentators believe that Hu was born in Taizhou, Jiangsu - not in Jixi, Anhui as reported. His forefathers lived in Jixi before they moved to Jiangsu. Hu joined the Communist Party prior to the Cultural Revolution in 1964 while still a student at Beijing's Tsingha University. He graduated with a degree in hydraulics engineering in 1965. During the Cultural Revolution, Hu's father was tortured and died in Taizhou. In the early 1980's, Hu attempted to press local officials to rehabilitate his father, which they refused to do. There is a local story that Hu hosted a banquet for local Communist Party officials, who refused to show up and he was forced to eat the food with the kitchen staff. The story goes that he then left Taizhou swearing never to return, which he has not.

Hu's career is remarkable for his rapid ascent to power, attributed to his moderate views and careful attention not to offend or alienate his older backers. In contrast to the members of the "Shanghai click," Hu has spent most of his career in China's poorer hinterland rather than in the economically prosperous coastal regions. Partly because of this, he was little known by Western analysts before his ascent to power.

He is the first party chief to have joined the Communist Party after the Chinese Civil War|Revolution. As Party Secretary of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, he was responsible for a political crackdown in early 1989 that lead to the deaths of several Tibetan activists. He also worked towards some liberalization of cultural activities. In his 50s, Hu was by far the youngest member of the then seven-member Politburro Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China. According to his official biography, he possesses a photographic memory.

Image:China,_Jiang_Zemin_and_Hu_Jintao_(10).jpg|thumb|left|Jiang Zemin with Hu Jintao

Since taking over as Party General Secretary in the Sixteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Hu Jintao has appeared to have a more egalitarian style than his predecessor, and there are no obvious signs that Jiang Zemin is still exercising power. Hu has focused on sectors of the Chinese population that have been left behind by the economic reform, and has taken a number of high profile trips to the poorer areas of China with the stated goal of understanding these areas better. The major early crisis of Hu's leadership was the outbreak of Severe acute respiratory syndrome|SARS. Following strong criticism of China by the World Health Organization and others for covering up and responding slowly to the crisis, he sacked several party and government officials, including the health minister and the mayor of Beijing, and took steps to increase the transparency of China's reporting to international health organizations.

Another test of Hu's leadership was Beijing's low key response to protests against the implementation of Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23|Article 23 of the Basic Law in Hong Kong in 2003. In an unprecedented move, the legislation to implement the Article was withdrawn by the Hong Kong government, after a large popular protest on July 1, 2003. At the same time, Hu gave a public show of support to Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-Ha after gauging public mood in Hong Kong. Many observers see the Central Government's handling of the situation as characteristic of Hu's quiet style, and unlike Tung Chee-Hwa, Hu remains a popular figure in Hong Kong.

Although Jiang Zemin, then 76, stepped down from the powerful Politburo Standing Committee to make way for a younger "Generations of Chinese leadership|fourth generation" of leadership led by Hu, there was speculation that Jiang Zemin would retain significant power because Hu is not associated with Jiang's "Shanghai clique", to which six out of the nine new members of the all-powerful Standing Committee are linked. The 22-member Politburo is elected by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China|Party's central committee. Real power in Communist China lies with this committee, which works like an inner cabinet and groups together the country's most influential leaders. At the 2002 16th Party Congress, the Standing Committee was expanded to include nine members. In addition, Jiang was reelected to the post of Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China, a post from which Deng Xiaopin was able to wield power from behind the scenes as "paramount leader."

China has a history of fallen heirs-apparent, which many observers believe explains the caution with which outside observers have long associated Hu Jintao. The PRC has been plagued with succession problems, with elder cadres, such as Deng Xiaoping, wielding behind the scenes power through younger prot?g?s. Deng was able to anoint three party secretaries, and was instrumental in the ousting of two of them, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang. His third and final selection, Jiang Zemin, won Deng's continued backing and was the only party secretary in Communist Chinese history to voluntarily leave his post when his term ended. Even Deng himself fell from grace as party general secretary (not the top communist post during that time) in the 1950s due to his indifferent support for Maoist economic policies.

At the same time, attempts to draw historical parallels need to be carefully considered. Since the early-1980s, the People's Republic of China has been marked by increasing institutionalization and rule has been de-personalized. In reaction to the anarchy of the Cultural Revolution, the Communist Party of China has had as one of its major goals, the creation of an orderly system of succession and mechanism to prevent informal rule and a cult of personality.

Image:China,_Hu_Jintao_(56)_with_Zeng.jpg|thumb|right|Zeng Qinghong (background) and Hu Jintao (foreground)

However, speculations around the political rivalry between Jiang and Hu largely subsided when Jiang resigned as Chairman of the Central Military Commission in September 2004, his last official post. Hu succeeded Jiang as the Chairman of CMC and thus gaining effective control over the state, the party, as well as the People's Liberation Army|army.

Hu and Wen Jiabao have also attempted to move China away from a policy of favouring economic growth at all costs and toward a more balanced view of growth that includes factors in social inequality and environmental damage, including the use of the green gross domestic product in personnel decisions.

Observers indicate that Hu distinguishes himself from his predecessor in both domestic and foreign policy. In domestic policy, he seems to want more openness to the public on governmental functions and meetings. Recently, China's news agency published many Politburo Standing Committee meeting details. He also cancelled many spendthrift events that are traditionally seen as communist extravagances, such as the lavish send-off and welcoming-back ceremonies of Chinese leaders when visiting foreign lands. Furthermore the Chinese leadership under Hu has also focused on such problems as the gap between rich and poor and uneven development between the interior and coastal regions. Both party and state seem to have moved away from a definition of development that focuses solely on GDP growth and toward a more balanced definition which includes social equality and environment effects.

In 2004, Hu ordered all cadres from the five major power functions to stop going to the Beidaihe retreat for their annual summer meeting which, before, was commonly seen as a gathering of ruling elites from both current and elder cadres to decide China's destiny. In Foreign relations of China|foreign policy, he has differed from his predecessor by actively engaging in the current North Korean crisis. He has also assured neighbors in the region with the concept of China's peaceful rise.

At the same time, Hu has contradicted some initial expectations that he was a closet liberal. Observers have noted that under Hu, censorship of the news media and harassment of dissidents has increased. Furthermore, while Hu has attempted to make decision making more transparent and to increase rule of law he has also explicitly stated that his goal is to strengthen and make the party more efficient rather than weaken the party or move toward a pluralistic political system. While he has given some signs of being more flexible with regard to political relationships with Taiwan as in his four points speech, he appears to be unwilling to reconsider Chinese reunification as an ultimately goal or to renounce the use of force if Taiwan were to Taiwan independence|declare independence. The combination of both soft and hard approaches were apparent in the Anti-Secession Law of the People's Republic of China|Anti-Secession Law which was passed in March 2005.

Image:Lulaandhu.jpg|framed|left|Brazilian President Lula da Silva meeting with Hu Jintao in Beijing's Great Hall of the People on May 24, 2004

Hu Jintao has been in the national spotlight on many major occasions, including observations of military exercises and chants of remarks that would normally be viewed as slogans for top military leaders. He also talked about "intra-party" democracy, an important focus for many domestic and international observers. During the 3rd Plenum of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, he represented the entire Politburo and submitted a report to the Central Committee, a first for a Chinese leader. To many, this symbolizes his gradual move toward "intra-party" democracy, and most importantly his use of the committee to tilt the power balance away from the Politburo to his favor. Most significantly, he represented the party, state, and military to oversee the successful launch of the Shenzhou 5 manned spacecraft. It was surprising that Jiang Zemin did not attend such a highly anticipated event, as the Shenzhou program was considered one of Jiang's legacies. Many suspect that Jiang's influence may be waning within the party.

In the fourth plenum of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China|Central Committee of the Communist Party, Jiang Zemin resigned as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, thus completing the transition of power that was precedented by Deng Xiaoping.

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succession box | before = Jiang Zemin | title = General Secretary of the Communist Party of China | years = 2002– | after = (incumbent)
succession box | before = Jiang Zemin | title = President of the People's Republic of China | years = 2003– | after = (incumbent)
succession box | before =Jiang Zemin | title = Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China|PRC | years = 2004– | after = (incumbent)
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  • "Who's Who in China's Leadership" biography

  • Hu Jintao calls for upholding Marxism (Xinhua News Agency|Xinhua)

  • "China's leader shows his stripes" – a January 2005 BBC article arguing that Hu is more hardline than he initially appeared

Category:1942 births|Hu Jintao
Category:CPC leaders
Category:Current national leaders|Hu Jintao

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hu Jintao".

Last Modified:   2005-04-13

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