Xi Jinping has become the leader of China.
The state Xinhua News Agency today confirmed Xi’s promotion to the Communist Party General Secretary. Xi was also appointed head of the commission that oversees the military. The selection of Xi follows a pivotal Communist party congress that underlined the party’s determination to remain firmly in power. Xi is the son of a party elder and has served as vice-president for the past five years.
He will lead the world’s number two economy, amid increasingly vocal calls for political reform.
In his inaugrual speech Xi has vowed that will “China to continue reform and open[ing].”
Xi joined the Communist Youth League in 1971 and the Communist Party of China in 1974. 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. 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 province, 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, President Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice-President Hu Jintao and Discipline Inspection head Wei Jianxing to explain aspects of the Yuanhua scandal.
In 2002 Xi took up senior government and Party positions in Zhejiang Province, and eventually took over as party chief after several months as acting Governor, becoming the first-in-charge in the economically successful coastal 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, one of China’s most affluent provinces and a center of China’s successful economic development, 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.