Profile: Xi Jinping -- Vice President of People's Republic of China Sunday, March 16, 2008


As son of Xi Zhongxun, a Communist revolutionary hero and former vice premier, Xi Jinping has, nevertheless, kept a low profile for decades.

He was sent to a remote mountain village in the northwestern province of Shaanxi when he was only 16 years old. He spent six years there, chopping hay, reaping wheat and shepherding in the daytime, and reading books in the dim light of a kerosene lamp while enduring the harassment of fleas at night. He was soon elected the village's Party branch secretary because of his prestige among the local people and enthusiasm for work. He was later recommended for the enrollment of Qinghua University.

After graduation from the Chemical Engineering Department of Qinghua in 1979, he became secretary of Geng Biao, the then vice premier and minister of national defense. But three years later, he decided to give up the comfortable life in Beijing and go down to the grassroots to be trained.

In the following two decades, Xi started as deputy secretary of the Party Committee in rural Zhengding County in Hebei Province, and gained more and more work experience in the country's affluent coastal areas, including Fujian and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai Municipality.


Officials in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, still remember Xi's order on working style in the 1990s when he worked as secretary of the city's Party Committee: Do it now.

Xi explained that "Do it now" requires not only a high work efficiency but also the quickest response to problems emerging from fierce competition. "Do it now" soon became a common practice of Fuzhou officials.

Xi worked in Fujian for as long as 17 years, being promoted from vice mayor of Xiamen in the mid-1980s to provincial governor in the early 2000s. During his tenure, Xi dedicated himself to building a service-oriented government, conserving the ecological environment and resources, and promoting cooperation with Taiwan across the Taiwan Straits.

Xi moved to Zhejiang in 2002, when the fast growing province was faced with a predicament -- the extensive economic growth mode could not support a sustainable development.

After thorough study of Zhejiang's actual conditions, Xi concluded that the province must start all over again with overall industrial restructuring. As secretary of the provincial Party Committee, Xi ordered local authorities to shut down or move away highly polluting and highly energy-consuming businesses, and join hands with neighboring Shanghai Municipality and Jiangsu Province to achieve a scientific and sustainable development. Zhejiang has secured its position as one of the wealthiest provinces in China with rapid economic growth.

In Zhejiang, Xi is also best remembered for arranging the timely evacuation of about 1 million people within just three days ahead of the landing of Typhoon Saomai in August 2006 -- the strongest typhoon that hit China in more than half a century, reducing casualties and property losses to the minimum.

Retired senior officials in Zhejiang spoke highly of Xi's performance after a long period of observation, saying that he is a man of action without making shows, an open-minded man with a down-to-earth style of work.

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Editor: Pliny Han
Source: Xinhua