Xi Jinping: 'Princeling' to president

Xi Jinping was born in 1953 to Xi Zhongxun, one of the founding fathers of the Communist Party and reformist leader of China.

News Deskbdnews24.com
Published : 14 Oct 2016, 09:12 AM
Updated : 14 Oct 2016, 04:11 PM

He has been the Chinese president since 2013, and is recognised for his relentless drive against corruption and nepotism. 

As chosen heir to his predecessor, Hu Jintao, he became chief of the Communist Party of China in November 2012. 

He is called a “princeling” for being a privileged descendant of a top leader.

But his father Zhongxun, former vice president and parliament vice-chairman, was removed from power before China’s Cultural Revolution.

The stated goal of the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” headed by Mao Zedong, China’s then Communist Party chairman, from 1966 to 1976 was to purge “capitalist elements” and establish Maoism as the party’s dominant ideology.

Xi Jinping, brought up among the party elite, witnessed his father’s fall and eventual imprisonment.

The Beijing-born lad was 15 when he was sent to work in an impoverished village for seven years.

Xi later described the time he spent working alongside ordinary villagers of Liangjiahe, a practice meant for ‘promising youths’, as a significant experience.  

Xi Zhongxun

He left the impoverished countryside and returned to Beijing to study chemical engineering at Tsinghua University.

He also holds a degree on Marxist theory and a doctorate in law from the elite university.

Xi was rejected several times when he tried to join the Communist Party because of issues relating to his father, according to some media reports.

He joined the party in 1974 and was a local party secretary in the northern province of Hebei near Beijing.

He soon hit it big and became governor of Fujian in 1999 after a series of officials of the southwestern province were pulled up for graft.

A native of the remote province of Shaanxi, home to famed terracotta warriors, Xi Jinping held senior position in Zhejiang province.

He was named party chief of China’s commercial capital Shanghai in 2007 when his predecessor, Chen Liangyu, was removed over corruption charges.

Seven months later, Xi was elevated to the party's Standing Committee, the ruling inner-circle, and became its vice-president in 2008.

His wife Peng Liyuan is a famous folk singer and actress who also holds the rank of army general, and was better-known in the country before her husband emerged as the party leader.

The couple, married since 1987, has a daughter named Xi Mingze, who is said to be a student of the Harvard University.