Hu Jintao (Hu Chin-t’ao) - Chinese Politician

Hu Jintao (Hu Chin-t’ao) - Chinese Politician
Hu Jintao (Hu Chin-t’ao) - Chinese Politician

Elected president of the People’s Republic of China on March 15, 2003, Hu Jintao was born in December 1942 in Shanghai. He is the first Chinese leader whose career began after the communist victory of 1949.

Hu became active in the Communist Youth League while in high school and graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering. He worked for a hydropower station in Gansu and then, from 1969 to 1974, worked as an engineer for Sinohydro Engineering Bureau.

In 1974 Hu transferred to the construction department at Gansu. Within a year he earned a promotion to vice senior chief and met up with Song Ping, who would become his mentor. With Song’s help he took over as deputy director of Gansu’s Ministry of Construction in 1980.

In 1981 Hu embarked on training at the Central Party School in Beijing. His political career advanced rapidly when Deng Xiaoping named him to the Politburo Standing Committee in 1992.

Hu’s meteoric career rise continued with his appointment as governor of Guizhou (Kweichow) province in 1985. In 1988 he took over as party chief of the Tibet Autonomous Region at a time of great political turmoil. Hu ordered and led a political crackdown in Tibet in early 1989.

During the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), his name emerged as a potential future leader. In his 50s, he became the youngest member of the seven-person Politburo Standing Committee. In 1993 he became secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, and vice president of China in 1998.

Hu ascended to the office of party general secretary at the 16th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 2002, at a time of immense change for China. Economically, politically, and socially, China faced difficult issues, including the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the uncertainty of a rapidly globalizing economy.