Jiang Zemin

Political Leader

Born: 17 August 1926
Birthplace: Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, China
Best known as: President of the People's Republic of China, 1993-2003
Jiang earned a university degree in electrical engineering and began his career in the Communist Party while still a student. He spent years as a factory manager (even training at the Soviet Union's Stalin Automobile Works in 1955) before making his way into politics. By 1985 he had become mayor of Shanghai, a high-profile position which gave him an international reputation. He became General Secretary of the Communist Party of China in June 1989, cementing his position as the protege of and heir apparent to Deng Xiaoping. Jiang became President of the People's Republic of China in 1993, and assumed full leadership upon Deng's 1997 death. He stepped down as President in March of 2003 and was succeeded by Hu Jintao.
Extra credit:

According to the official party biography, Jiang “loves to read Mark Twain.”

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