Xi Jinping[note 1] (English: /ˈʃiː dʒɪnˈpɪŋ/ SHEE jin-PING; Chinese: 习近平; pinyin: Xí Jìnpíng; [ɕǐ tɕîn pʰǐŋ]; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician who has been serving as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) since 2012, and President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since 2013. Xi has been the paramount leader of China, the most prominent political leader in the People’s Republic of China, since 2012.
The son of Chinese Communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, he was exiled to rural Yanchuan County as a teenager following his father’s purge during the Cultural Revolution, and lived in a yaodong in the village of Liangjiahe, where he joined the CCP and worked as the local party secretary. After studying chemical engineering at Tsinghua University as a worker-peasant-soldier student, Xi rose through the ranks politically in China’s coastal provinces. Xi was Governor of Fujian from 1999 to 2002, before becoming Governor and Party Secretary of neighbouring Zhejiang from 2002 to 2007. Following dismissal of the Party Secretary of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to replace him for a brief period in 2007. He subsequently joined the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) of the CCP and served as first secretary of the Central Secretariat in October 2007. In 2008, he was designated as Hu Jintao‘s presumed successor as paramount leader; to that end, Xi was appointed Vice President of the PRC and Vice Chairman of the CMC. He officially received the title of leadership core from the CCP in 2016. Xi has also been a member of the PSC since 2007. In 2018, he abolished presidential term limits.
Xi is the first CCP General Secretary born after the establishment of the PRC. Since assuming power, Xi has introduced far-ranging measures to enforce party discipline and to impose internal unity. His anti-corruption campaign led to the downfall of prominent incumbent and retired CCP officials, including a former member of the PSC. He has also enacted or promoted a more aggressive foreign policy, particularly with regard to China–Japan relations, China’s claims in the South China Sea, and its advocacy for free trade and globalization. He has sought to expand China’s African and Eurasian influence through the Belt and Road Initiative.
Xi has often been described as a dictator or an authoritarian leader by political and academic observers, citing an increase of censorship and mass surveillance, a deterioration in human rights including the internment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the cult of personality developing around him, and the removal of term limits for the leadership under his tenure.[a] Xi’s political thoughts have been incorporated into the party and national constitutions. As the central figure of the fifth generation of leadership of the PRC, Xi has significantly centralised institutional power by taking on a wide range of leadership positions, including chairing the newly formed National Security Commission, as well as new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring and modernization, and the Internet.
On 11 November 2021, the CCP declared Xi’s ideology the “essence of Chinese culture”. This is the third fundamental resolution of the CCP since its inception, and symbolically raises him to the same level of prestige as leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping