Xi Jinping is a Chinese politician who has served as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), and thus as the paramount leader of China, since 2012. Xi has also served as the president of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since 2013.
The son of Chinese Communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, Xi was exiled to rural Yanchuan County as a teenager following his father's purge during the Cultural Revolution. He lived in a yaodong in the village of Liangjiahe, Shaanxi province, where he joined the CCP after several failed attempts 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 neighboring 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 the same year 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 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's relations with the U.S., the nine-dash line in the South China Sea, the Sino-Indian border dispute, and the political status of Taiwan. He has sought to expand China's African and Eurasian influence through the Belt and Road Initiative. Xi has expanded support for state-owned enterprises (SOEs), advanced military-civil fusion, overseen targeted poverty alleviation programs, and has attempted to reform the property sector. He has also promoted "common prosperity", a series of policies designed with stated goal to increase equality, and used the term to justify a broad crackdown and major slew of regulations against the tech and tutoring sectors in 2021.
Xi met with Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou in 2015, the first time PRC and Republic of China leaders met, though relations deteriorated after Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the presidential elections in 2016. He responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China with a zero-COVID approach, continuing it (as of November 2022) even after most other countries had shifted to a mitigation strategy. Xi also oversaw the passage of a national security law in Hong Kong, clamping down on political opposition in the city, especially pro-democracy activists.
Often described as an authoritarian leader by political and academic observers, Xi's tenure has included: an increase of censorship and mass surveillance; deterioration in human rights, including the internment of one million Uyghurs in Xinjiang (which some observers have described as part of a genocide); a cult of personality developing around Xi; and the removal of term limits for the presidency in 2018. Xi's political ideas and principles, known as Xi Jinping Thought, have been incorporated into the party and national constitutions, and he has emphasized the importance of national security and the need for CCP leadership over the country. As the central figure of the fifth generation of leadership of the PRC, Xi has centralized institutional power by taking on multiple positions, including chairing the National Security Commission and new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring and modernization, and the Internet. He and the CCP Central Committee passed a "historical resolution" in November 2021, the third such resolution after Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. In October 2022, Xi secured a third term as CCP General Secretary, the second leader of the CCP to do so (the other being Mao).