Hu Jintao was born on Dec. 21, 1942, in Taizhou, Jiangsu, China. His father owned a tea trading business in his hometown, and the family grew up relatively poor. When Hu was seven, his mother died and he was subsequently raised by his aunt. In high school, Hu excelled in singing and dancing, as well as succeeding in classes and demonstrating a photographic memory. After high school in 1961, he entered Tsinghua University in Beijing and joined the Communist Party. During his tenure as a student, Hu became chairman of the Tsinghua Student Union, and graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering in 1965. While at the university, Hu met Liu Yongqing, who later became his wife. They now have two children, Hu Haifeng and Hu Haiqing. Upon graduation, Hu elected to serve in Gansu and helped with the large construction project of the Liujiaxia Hydroelectric Station.
While Hu was working in the Construction Department of Gansu as a secretary, his superior promoted him several ranks. While Hu worked as director of the All-China Youth Federation, his superior, Song Ping, was transferred to become a high ranking Communist Party minister. Hu was promised a successful career in the party.
In 1985, Hu was transferred to the provincial Committee Secretary of the Communist Party of China. Throughout his tenure, he attempted to improve the economy. He grew a reputation as an “airtight” secretary by following directives from Beijing precisely and rarely offers his own personal views. In 1988, Hu was moved to Tibet, where he served as the Political Comissar of the local People’s Liberation Army units. During riots in 1989, Hu is alleged to have approved the use of force against rioters. Hu continued to rise in prominence in the Communist Party and became vice president of China in 1998. In November of 2002 Hu became General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. Then, in March of 2003, Hu became president of the People’s Republic of China. Since then, Hu has dealt with the SARS crisis, pressure from foreign nations, and a rapidly growing Chinese population. He is known for speaking excellent, unaccented Mandarin as well as having a very cautious attitued. Accorind got reports, it is likely Hu Jintao will step down as China’s president by 2013.