Xi Jinping (pinyin: Xí Jìnpíng, pronounced [ɕǐ tɕînpʰǐŋ], born 15 June 1953) is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, the President of the People's Republic of China, and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. As Party General Secretary, Xi is also an ex officio member of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body, making him the paramount leader.
Son of communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, Xi Jinping rose through the ranks politically in China's coastal provinces. He served as the Governor of Fujian between 1999 and 2002, then as Governor and CPC party chief of the neighboring Zhejiang between 2002 and 2007. Following the dismissal of Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to Shanghai as the party secretary for a brief period in 2007. Xi was promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee and Central Secretariat in October 2007 and was groomed to become Hu Jintao's successor.
Xi is now the leader of the People's Republic's fifth generation of leadership.1 He has called for a renewed campaign against corruption, continued market economic reforms, an open approach to governance, and a comprehensive national renewal under the neologism "Chinese Dream".2
Xi Jinping was born on 15 June 1953 in Beijing and is claimed, according to Chinese custom, to be of ancestral descent from Fuping County, Shaanxi. His father, Xi Zhongxun (1913-2002), was a contributor to bringing about the social revolution3 and a revolutionary leader.4 His patrilinear ancestral home is from Xiying in Dengzhou, Henan.5 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.6
When Xi was 10, his father was purged and sent to work in a factory in Luoyang, Henan.7 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."8
From 1975 to 1979, Xi studied chemical engineering at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University. From 1998 to 2002, he studied Marxist philosophy and ideological education in an "on-the-job" post-graduate programme at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, again at Tsinghua University, and obtained an Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree.9 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.10
Xi joined the Communist Youth League in 1971 and the Communist Party of China in 1974.12 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.13 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, 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 Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-President Hu Jintao and Discipline Inspection secretary Wei Jianxing to explain aspects of the Yuanhua scandal.14
In 2002, Xi took up senior government and Party positions in Zhejiang, and eventually took over as party chief after several months as acting Governor, becoming the first-in-charge in the 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, 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.
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 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 2008.15 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 2008.16 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 2009.17
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."18 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".19 Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson described Xi as "the kind of guy who knows how to get things over the goal line."20 Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that Xi "has sufficient reformist, party and military background to be very much his own man."21
In February 2009, in his capacity as Vice-President, Xi Jinping embarked on a tour of Latin America, visiting Mexico,2223 Jamaica,2425 Colombia,2627 Venezuela,2829 and Brazil30 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.3132
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".33 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?"3435 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.36
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 2009.37 Xi visited Japan, South Korea, Cambodia and Myanmar on his Asian trip from 14 to 22 December 2009.38
Xi visited the United States, Ireland and Turkey in February 2012. The visit included meeting with U.S President Barack Obama at the White House39 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.40
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 questionsby whom? 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.41 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.42434445 By 2010, it appeared to be clear that Xi would succeed Hu as General Secretary and President in 2012 and 2013 respectively.4647
On 15 November 2012, Xi Jinping was elected to the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission by the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, making him the top-ranked leader of the Communist Party of China. The change was publicly revealed later that day, when he led the newly elected Politburo Standing Committee onto the stage in their first public appearance.48495051
Xi was ranked third of the 2013 Forbes Magazine's List of The World's Most Powerful People, after taking the office of Party general secretary.52
Xi visited Guangdong in his first trip since taking the Party leadership, notably paying tribute to Deng Xiaoping. During his trip, he called for economic reforms and a strong military. Xi launched a series of speeches referring to "The China dream." "This dream can be said to be the dream of a strong nation. And for the military, it is a dream of a strong military," Xi told sailors in December 2012.53
In a move widely seen as completing the formal transition of power, Xi was elected President of the People's Republic of China on 14 March 2013, in a confirmation vote by the 12th National People's Congress in Beijing. He received 2,952 for, one vote against, and three abstentions.54 He replaced Hu Jintao, who retired after serving two terms.55 Although the presidency is officially a ceremonial post, in recent years it has become customary for the general secretary to assume the presidency as confirmation of his rise to power.
The liberal reformist Li Yuanchao was elected as Vice President in a 2839 to 80 vote,55 becoming the first vice-president not to be a member of the Politburo Standing Committee since Rong Yiren in 1998.56
In his new capacity as President, on 16 March Xi expressed support for noninterference in China–Sri Lanka relations amid a United Nations Security Council vote to condemn that country over government abuses during the Sri Lankan Civil War.57
On 17 March, Xi and his new ministers arranged a meeting with the chief executive of Hong Kong, CY Leung, confirming his support for Leung.58 Within hours of his election, Xi discussed cyber security and North Korea with U.S. President Barack Obama over the phone, who announced the visits of Treasury and State secretaries Jacob Lew and John F. Kerry to China on the following week.59
Xi also affirmed China's commitment to continued good relations with Pakistan.60 Within a week of his assuming the Presidency, Xi embarked on a trip to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, and Republic of Congo.61
Xi Jinping was named the Person of the Year 2013 by French analyst David Gosset.62
Looking for a slogan to encapsulate his viewpoint, Xi has adopted the phrase "Chinese Dream." It is used to describe the aspiration of individual self-improvement in Chinese society.63 Although the phrase has been used previously by journalists and scholars,6465 a translation of a New York Times article written by the American journalist Thomas Friedman, "China Needs Its Own Dream", has been credited with popularizing the concept in China.65 Friedman attributes the term to Peggy Liu and the environmental NGO JUCCCE's China Dream project,6667 which defines the Chinese Dream as sustainable development.67 In 2013, the slogan became widespread in the media.68 In May 2013, Xi called upon young people "to dare to dream, work assiduously to fulfill the dreams and contribute to the revitalization of the nation." He called upon all levels of the Party and the government to facilitate favorable conditions for their career development. Xi told young people to "cherish the glorious youth, strive with pioneer spirit and contribute their wisdom and energy to the realization of the Chinese dream."69
Reporters have noted that, "Mr Xi had seen the American dream up close, having spent a couple of weeks in 1985 with a rural family in Iowa. (He revisited them during a trip to America last year  as leader-in-waiting.)"70
Document No. 9 is a confidential internal document widely circulated within the Communist Party of China in 2013 by the General Office of the Communist Party of China.7172 The document was first published in July, 2012.73 The document warns of seven dangerous Western values, allegedly including media freedom and judicial independence. With respect to education coverage of the topics is forbidden.74
- Western constitutional democracy
- Universal values of human rights
- Western conceptions of
- Media independence
- Civil society
- Pro-market neo-liberalism
- "Nihilist” criticisms of past errors of the party.75
Xi married the famous Chinese singer Peng Liyuan in 1987.77 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,78dead link who enrolled as a freshman at Harvard University in the autumn of 2010 under a pseudonym.79
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."80 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."81 He is also known to love Hollywood films like Saving Private Ryan.82 The Guardian noted that "perhaps more surprisingly" he also praised the independent film maker Jia Zhangke.83
In June 2012, Bloomberg reported that members of Xi's extended family have substantial business interests, although there was no evidence that they had been assisted by Xi's political position.84 The bloomberg.com website was blocked in mainland China in response to the article.85
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- Original: simplified Chinese: 在国际金融风暴中，中国能基本解决13亿人口吃饭的问题，已经是对全人类最伟大的贡献; traditional Chinese: 在國際金融風暴中，中國能基本解決13億人口吃飯的問題，已經是對全人類最偉大的貢獻
- Original: simplified Chinese: 有些吃饱没事干的外国人，对我们的事情指手画脚。中国一不输出革命，二不输出饥饿和贫困，三不折腾你们，还有什么好说的？; traditional Chinese: 有些吃飽沒事干的外國人，對我們的事情指手畫腳。中國一不輸出革命，二不輸出飢餓和貧困，三不折騰你們，還有什麽好說的？
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Xi Jinping.|
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- Biography at www.chinavitae.com
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Xi Jinping collected news and commentary at the China Digital Times
- Xi Jinping collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Xi Jinping collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- feature artice on Xi, 29 September 2012
- Xi Jinping collected news and commentary at The Wall Street Journal
- Works by or about Xi Jinping in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- U.S. Embassy Beijing, Portrait of Xi Jinping, via United States diplomatic cables leak
- Osnos, Evan, "China’s Valentine’s Day in Washington", The New Yorker, 14 February 2012. Review of comment accompanying Xi's visit.