Xi Jinping (shē jēnpēng) [key], 1953–, Chinese political leader, b. Beijing. He is the son of Xi Zhongxun (1913–2002), a founder of China's communist guerrilla movement who served as minister of propaganda and education and then deputy premier before falling out of favor with Mao Zedong and being purged in the early 1960s; Xi's father later became a promarket reformer. During the Cultural Revolution, Xi Jinping was sent to the countryside, where he was a manual laborer for six years. After joining (1974) the Communist party, he resumed his education, graduating (1979) from Qinghua Univ.; he later (2002) earned a doctorate in law. Xi rose rapidly through the party ranks, serving in various government and party positions including governor of Fujian (2000) and Shanghai party chief (2007), and becoming known for his anticorruption and probusiness policies. In 2007 Xi was appointed to the standing committee of the party's political bureau. He was named China's vice president in 2008 and vice chairman of the central military commission in 2010. In 2012 Xi succeeded Hu Jintao as party general secretary and central military commission chairman; Xi became China's president in 2013.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.