Hu Jintao (Hu Chin-t’ao)

(1942– ) 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.

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