The Power Players

Xi Jinping

image: Uniphoto Press By: The Diplomat

China’s Vice President and top-ranking member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China is the presumed heir to the presidency, and has already been selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Born in Beijing in 1953, Xi is a native of Shaanxi Province and a leader of the fifth generation of the Chinese leadership. His father, a hero of the Long March, was one of the founders of the Communist guerrilla movement in the province, but was prosecuted during the Mao era.

Xi has held a number of key leadership roles, including Secretary of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee and Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee.

However, questions have been raised about his educational background—he entered university in 1975 despite never studying, let alone finishing high school, and received a doctorate in 2002 despite not holding a masters. Some observers believe the controversy could hinder Xi’s rise, and his failure to be selected as Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission in September 2009 raised eyebrows and questions over the succession.

Xi, known for his tough stance on corruption and his sympathy for pro-market reforms, is now in charge of policy affairs related to Hong Kong and Macau.