Hu Jintao (ސާދާ ސީނީ ބަހުން: 胡锦涛; ބޯދާ ސީނީ ބަހުން: 胡錦濤; born December 21, 1942) is currently the Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China, holding the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang Zemin in the fourth generation leadership of the People's Republic of China. Since his ascendancy Hu has reinstated certain controls on the economy and has been largely conservative with political reforms. His foreign policy is seen as less conciliatory than that of his predecessor, and China's global influence has increased greatly since he took office.
Hu's rise to the presidency represents China's transition of leadership from old, establishment Communists to younger, more pragmatic technocrats. For most of Hu's adult life he has been involved in the Communist party bureaucracy, notably as Party Chief for the Tibet Autonomous Region, and then later Vice-President under Jiang Zemin. An advocate for China's peaceful rise, Hu's political philosophy is summarily described as aiming to found a basis for a Harmonious Society domestically and for Peaceful Development internationally, the former generated by a “Scientific Development Perspective,” which seeks integrated solutions to tackle China's various economic, environmental and social problems. He was named one of the most influential people of 2007 in Time Magazine.
Early life[އުނިއިތުރު ގެންނަވާ]
Hu Jintao was born in Jiangyan, Jiangsu, in 1942. He was the only son, and had two sisters. His ancestors were from Jixi, in the southeastern part of Anhui province. His branch of the family migrated to Jiangyan in his grandfather's generation. His mother died when he was seven, and he was raised by an aunt. Hu was a talented student in high school, excelling in activities such as singing and dancing. In 1964, while still a student at Beijing's Tsinghua University, Hu joined the Communist Party of China, just prior to the Cultural Revolution. He graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering in 1964. While at Tsinghua University, Hu met Liu Yongqing, a fellow student, and now his wife. They have one son and one daughter. In 1968, Hu was transferred to Gansu and worked for a hydro-power station. From 1969 to 1974, Hu worked for Sinohydro Engineering Bureau No 4, as an engineer.
Early political career[އުނިއިތުރު ގެންނަވާ]
In 1974 Hu was transferred to the Construction Department of Gansu as a secretary. The next year he was promoted to vice senior chief. During this period, Hu met his first mentor, Song Ping, the first secretary of CPC Gansu Committee (thus Gansu's real governor). Song appreciated Hu's talent, and with Song's assistance, Hu was promoted to deputy director of Gansu's Ministry of Construction in 1980. Another protégé of Song, Wen Jiabao, also became prominent at the same time. In 1981 Hu, along with Deng Xiaoping's daughter Deng Nan and Hu Yaobang's son Hu Deping, were trained in the Central Party School in Beijing. Hu made a good impression on Deng Nan, who happened to report it to her father. Hu Deping even invited Hu Jintao to his home and met with Hu Yaobang, who was a standing member of the politburo at that time. Hu Jintao's modesty created an impact on Hu Yaobang. In 1982, Hu was promoted to the position of Communist Youth League Gansu Branch Secretary. His mentor Song Ping was transferred to Beijing as Minister of Organization of the Communist Party of China, and was in charge of senior cadres' recommendation, candidacy and promotion. With the support of Hu Yaobang and Deng Xiaoping, Hu was ensured of a bright future in the party. In 1982, Hu was transferred to Beijing and appointed as secretariat of the Communist Youth League Central Committee ("CY Central"). Two years later Hu was promoted to First Secretary of CY Central, thus its actual leader. During his term in the Youth League, Hu escorted Hu Yaobang, who was General Secretary of CPC then, in visits around the country. Hu Yaobang himself was a veteran coming from the Youth League, could reminiscence his youth through Hu's company.
Governor of Guizhou[އުނިއިތުރު ގެންނަވާ]
In 1985, Hu was transferred to Guizhou as the Communist Party of China Guizhou Committee Secretary, which began his time as a provincial governor. In contrast to the members of the "Shanghai clique", Hu spent most of his career in China's poorer hinterland rather than in the economically prosperous coastal regions. Partly because of this, he was relatively unknown to Western analysts before his ascent to power. In 1987 Hu Jintao handled the local students protest parallel to the Democracy Wall carefully, whereas in Beijing similar protests resulted in Hu Yaobang's forced resignation.
Chairman of Xizang Autonomous Region[އުނިއިތުރު ގެންނަވާ]
Hu was appointed Party Chief of the Xizang Autonomous Region in 1988, during a time of political instability and rising demands from Tibet's people for its independence. Hu was responsible for a political crackdown in early 1989 that lead to the deaths of several hundred Tibetan activists. He also worked towards some liberalisation of cultural activities but was believed to have been involved in the 1989 unexpected death of the Panchen Lama, Tibet's second highest religious leader. Hu's harsh stance in Tibet led to him being regarded as a leader of conviction, and further attracted attention from the Central Government in Beijing.
Before the opening of 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1992, the senior leaders of the CPC, including Deng and Chen Yun, were to select candidates for the Politburo Standing Committee to ensure a smooth transition of power from the so-called second-generation leaders (Deng, Chen, Li Xiannian, Wang Zhen, etc.) to third-generation CPC leaders (Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Qiao Shi etc.). Deng also proposed that they should consider another candidate for a further future transition. Song, as the organization chief, recommended Hu as an ideal candidate for the prospect of a future leader. As a result, shortly before his 50th year birthday, Hu Jintao became the youngest member of the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, and the second youngest Politburo Standing Committee member ever since the CCP had seized power in 1949 (only to be outstripped by Wang Hongwen, who had become a member of the Politburo Standing Committee at the age of 38). It became fairly apparent that Hu would eventually succeed Jiang as the core of fourth-generation CPC leaders. In 1993, Hu took charge of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee, which oversaw day-to-day operations of the Central Committee, and the Central Party School, which was convenient for him to bring up his own supporters among senior CPC cadres. Hu was also put in charge of the ideological work of the CPC. Although Hu was considered heir apparent to Jiang, he always took great care to ensure that Jiang be at the center of the spotlight. As a result, he left the public with an impression of being low-key, controlled, and courteous. In 1998 Hu became Vice-President of China, and Jiang wanted Hu to play a more active role in foreign affairs. Hu became China's leading voice during the US bombings of China's embassy in Belgrade in 1999.
When the transition finally took place in the 16th National Congress of the CPC in 2002, Jiang was reluctant to leave the center of power. It was widely believed that he staffed the Politburo with many members of the so-called "Shanghai Clique", including Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju and Li Changchun, which could ensure Jiang's control behind the stage. Jiang held on to the position of Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Since taking over as Party General Secretary at the Sixteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Hu and his premier, Wen Jiabao, proposed to set up a Harmonious Society which aims at lessening the inequality and changing the style of the "GDP first and Welfare Second" policies. They focused on sectors of the Chinese population that have been left behind by the economic reform, and have taken a number of high profile trips to the poorer areas of China with the stated goal of understanding these areas better. Hu and Wen Jiabao have also attempted to move China away from a policy of favouring economic growth at all costs and toward a more balanced view of growth that includes factors in social inequality and environmental damage, including the use of the green gross domestic product in personnel decisions. Jiang's clique, however, maintained control in most developing areas, therefore Hu and Wen's measures of macroeconomic regulation faced great resistance.
SARS crisis[އުނިއިތުރު ގެންނަވާ]
The first crisis of Hu's leadership happened during the outbreak of SARS in 2003. Following strong criticism of China for initially covering up and responding slowly to the crisis, he dismissed several party and government officials, including the health minister, who supported Jiang, and the Mayor of Beijing, Meng Xuenong, widely perceived as Hu's protégé. Meng's dismissal was sometimes seen as a yielding compromise to erode Jiang's support in the party. Hu and Wen took steps to increase the transparency of China's reporting to international health organizations, indirectly dealing a blow to Jiang's stance on the issue.
Another test of Hu's leadership was Beijing's low key response to protests against the implementation of Article 23 of the Basic Law in Hong Kong in 2003. In an unprecedented move, the legislation to implement the Article was withdrawn by the Hong Kong government, after a large popular protest on July 1 2003. At the same time, Hu gave a public show of support to Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa after gauging public mood in Hong Kong. Many observers see the Central Government's handling of the situation as characteristic of Hu's quiet style, and unlike Tung Chee-Hwa, Hu remains a popular figure in Hong Kong.
Succession of Jiang Zemin[އުނިއިތުރު ގެންނަވާ]
Since its foundation in 1949 the Chinese government under the Communist Party has been plagued with unsuccessful and violent transitions of power. Although Jiang Zemin, then 76, stepped down from the powerful Politburo Standing Committee to make way for a younger fourth generation of leadership with Hu at its helm, there was speculation that Jiang would retain significant influence because Hu is not associated with Jiang's influential Shanghai clique, to which six out of the nine new members of the all-powerful Standing Committee were believed to be linked. However, later developments show that many of its members have shifted their positions, with Huang Ju and Li Changchun being the only staunch Jiang supporters remaining. In 2003, Jiang was also reelected to the post of Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the CPC, a post from which Deng Xiaoping was able to wield power from behind the scenes as paramount leader, thus retaining military power.
Western observers attribute a sense of caution to Hu's philosophies, citing China's recent history of fallen heirs. Deng Xiaoping appointed three party secretaries, all designed to be successors, and was instrumental in the ousting of two of them, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang. His third and final selection, Jiang Zemin, won Deng's ambiguous, although continued backing and was the only party secretary in Communist Chinese history to voluntarily leave his post when his term ended.
Although many believe Hu was originally hand-picked by Deng as the youngest member of China's top leadership and a leading candidate to succeed Jiang, he had exercised a great deal of political skills between 1992 and 2002 to consolidate his position, and eventually emerged as Jiang's heir apparent in his own right. Hu also benefited from the slow but progressive institutionalization of power succession within the Party. As a result, attempts to draw parallels with regards to Hu's succession is unreasonable. Since the early 1980s, the People's Republic of China has been marked by progressive institutionalization and rule by consensus, and moved away from the Maoist authoritarian model. Although a western-style legal institution and rule of law remain to be put in place, Hu's power succession was conducted in a fairly orderly and civil manner, which was unprecedented in Communist China's history. This trend is expected to continue and an institutionalized mechanism of power transition is expected to emerge, first perhaps within the Party. In fact, it has been one of the Party's stated major goals to create an orderly system of succession and mechanism to prevent informal rule and a cult of personality.
The rivalry between Jiang and Hu after Jiang stepped down from his posts was, arguably, an inevitable product of China's tradition of succession. Some analysts argue that although Jiang has consolidated power by the time he retired, his ideological stature within the Communist Party remains shaky at best, thus Jiang had to buy time to ensure that his ideological legacy such as the Three Represents, is enshrined in China's socialism doctrine. Jiang resigned as Chairman of the Central Military Commission in September 2004, his last official post. Whether this is the result of pressure from Hu or a personal decision is up for speculation. Since then Hu has officially taken on the three institutions in the People's Republic of China where power lie, the state, the party, as well as the military, thus informally, has become the paramount leader. The Hu-Jiang split, however, remains. Officially, Hu has been promoting Jiang's legacy by beginning a mass campaign in August 2006 promoting the Selected Works of Jiang Zemin, a collection of speeches and essays documenting Jiang's philosophies.
Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao inherited a China wrought with internal social, political and environmental problems. One of the biggest challenges Hu faces is the large wealth disparity between the Chinese rich and poor, for which discontent and anger mounted to a degree which wreaked havoc on communist rule. Furthermore, the cronyism and corruption plaguing China's civil service, military, educational, judicial and medical systems sought to destroy the country bit by bit. In the beginning of 2006 however, Hu launched the "8 Honours and 8 Disgraces" movement in a bid to promote a more selfless and moral outlook amongst the population. China's increasingly fragile environment has caused massive urban pollution, sandstorms and the destruction of vast tracts of habitable land. It remains to be seen if Hu, usually cautious in nature, is capable of managing the continued peaceful development of China while avoiding international incidents, at the same time presiding over an unprecedented increase in Chinese nationalist sentiment.
Scientific Perspective and Harmonious Society[އުނިއިތުރު ގެންނަވާ]
Observers indicate that Hu distinguishes himself from his predecessor in both domestic and foreign policy. President Hu Jintao's overarching vision, his political philosophy is summarized by three slogans — a “Harmonious Society” domestically and a “Peaceful Development” internationally, the former generated by a “Scientific Development Perspective,” which seeks integrated sets of solutions to arrays of economic, environmental and social problems, and recognizes, in inner circles, a need for political reform (though studied, cautious and controlled). The role of the Party has changed, as formulated by Deng Xiaoping and implemented by Jiang Zemin, from a revolutionary party to a ruling party. Hu continues the Party’s modernization, calling for both "Advancement" of the Party and its increasing transparency in governance, thus creating the so-called "democracy of the elite" — not his or China’s description — which is still far from the Western ideal.
What emerges in the view of President Hu is the "China Model," a systematic approach to national structure and development that combines dynamic economic growth, a free market energized by a vigorous “nonpublic” (i.e., private) sector, unrelenting political and media control, personal but not political freedoms, concern for the welfare of all citizens, cultural enlightenment, and a synergistic approach to diverse social issues (the Scientific Development Perspective) that lead, in Hu’s vision, to a Harmonious Society. Beijing sees its China Model as an alternative to Washington’s Democracy Model, particularly for developing countries. In President Hu’s words, "A harmonious society should feature democracy, the rule of law, equity, justice, sincerity, amity and vitality." Such a society, he says, will give full scope to people's talent and creativity, enable all the people to share the social wealth brought by reform and development, and forge an ever closer relationship between the people and government.
Western criticism of Hu, particularly regarding human rights, exposes his hypersensitivity to social stability but misses his fresh commitment to address China’s multi-faceted problems. Hu’s pragmatic, non-ideological agenda has two core values—maintaining social stability to further economic development and sustaining Chinese culture to enrich national sovereignty.In domestic policy, he seems to want more openness to the public on governmental functions and meetings. Recently, China's news agency published many Politburo Standing Committee meeting details. He also cancelled many events that are traditionally seen as communist extravagances, such as the lavish send-off and welcoming-back ceremonies of Chinese leaders when visiting foreign lands. Furthermore the Chinese leadership under Hu has also focused on such problems as the gap between rich and poor and uneven development between the interior and coastal regions. Both party and state seem to have moved away from a definition of development that focuses solely on GDP growth and toward a more balanced definition which includes social equality and environment effects.
In 2004, Hu gave an unprecedented showing and ordered all cadres from the five major power functions to stop the tradition of going to the Beidaihe seaside retreat for their annual summer meeting which, before, was commonly seen as a gathering of ruling elites from both current and elder cadres to decide China's destiny, and also an unnecessary waste of public funds. The move was seen by the Chinese public as symbolic of Hu's attitude towards corruption.
Foreign policy[އުނިއިތުރު ގެންނަވާ]
In foreign policy, he has differed from his predecessor by actively engaging in the current North Korea nuclear crisis. He has also assured neighbours in the region with the concept of China's peaceful rise. In addition, Hu has sought to strengthen ties with resource based countries such as Brazil and focused on increasing China's influence in Africa, pledging aid and skilled workers to poor African nations. Hu's stance is seen favourably by the majority in Africa. In addition, Hu's official position on many global issues, including terrorism, is similar to that of the United States. China has shown notable discretion on the issues of Iran's nuclear program and the War in Iraq.
Media control[އުނިއިތުރު ގެންނަވާ]
At the same time, Hu has contradicted some initial expectations that he was a closet liberal. Hu is a pragmatist and hard-liner as far as any effort of political reform is concerned. His son-in-law, Mao Daolin used to be CEO of Sina.com, a well-known internet portal of China. Furthermore, while Hu has attempted to make decision-making more transparent and to increase rule of law he has also explicitly stated that his goal is to strengthen and make the party more efficient rather than weaken the party or move toward a pluralistic political system. Although freedom of the foreign press in China has been significantly increased, Hu has been very cautious with regards to the Internet, choosing to censor politically sensitive material to a degree more strict than the Jiang era. In February 2007, Hu embarked on further domestic media controls that restricted primetime TV series to "morally correct" content on all Chinese TV stations, and listed "20 forbidden areas" of coverage on news reporting. It appears like Hu is setting the scene for a peaceful 17th Party Congress in the Fall of 2007.
While Hu Jintao has given some signs of being more flexible with regard to political relationships with Taiwan as in his May 17 Statement where he offered to address the issue of "international living space" for Taiwan, he remains committed to Chinese reunification as an ultimate goal. During Hu's administration, the government on Mainland has practically discontinued promoting near-term reunification under one country, two systems in favor of a more pragmatic and progressive approach to the unification issue by means of increased economic and cultural integration. Meanwhile, Hu's government remains firm in its position that the Mainland side will not tolerate any attempt by the Taiwanese government to declare de jure independence from China. The combination of both soft and hard approaches were apparent in the Anti-Secession Law which was passed in March 2005, and in the subsequent summit between Hu and Kuomintang leader Lien Chan in April 2005, seen by commentators as