The Western media outlets refer to the new leader of China as an enigmatic former engineer. So, Who is Hu?
It has been more than a week since the day when the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China took place. However, the interest of the world towards the personality of the new Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Hu Jintao is still growing. PRAVDA.Ru correspondent in Beijing, Andrey Krushinsky, offers our readers information about the new central figure of China, Hu Jintao.
A failure of world special services
The first Russian politician who contacted Hu Jintao first was Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party of Russia. It happened in June of 1995, when the first delegation of the Russian Communist Party visited China. The delegation was given a hearty welcome in China, but the leader of the country, Jiang Zemin, did not find the time to meet the Russian communists personally. The mission was entrusted to Hu Jintao.
Gennady Zyuganov was satisfied with the results of the conversation. After the meeting, he inquired about Hu Jintao’s position in the Communist Party. Back in those days, Hu was a member of the constant committee of the political bureau; he was in charge of international contacts. More than seven years ago, it was believed that Hu Jintao would become the new leader of the country.
Six years after the mentioned event, Hu Jintao left for a tour around the globe. This tour included official meetings with Bush in the USA. The American media outlets were at a loss, since they knew nothing about the Chinese official. An American expert complained that it was impossible to find his photographs. Newspapers had to publish headlines like “Who Is Hu?” This is was amazing failure of the world special services. They failed to notice that Beijing was deliberately implementing a fundamental political rejuvenation project in the country’s leadership. This was not noticed in spite of the fact that the process was took place for a very long period of time.
Hu Jintao was elected Vice President of China in spring of the current year. Yet, the world could not get used to the idea that such a relatively young politician would become the successor of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin. Western media’s knowledge about the new leader of China is still insufficient nowadays. Hu Jintao’s description is as follows: “enigmatic former engineer.” However, this is not a reason to blame the western media for the lack of their knowledge. Until recently, the people of China believed that it was impossible for Jiang Zemin to go. They thought that it was a bluff.
The choice of architect of reforms
Therefore, this is a political project that has lasted a decade. It all started on October 19th of 1992, when Hu Jintao became a member of the new Constant Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China. Back in those days, Hu Jintao was under 50 years of age; he was unbelievably young against the background of major political figures of China.
“The former engineer” was a very experienced person at the age 49. He was his own work of art, as Americans say so. Hu Jintao was born in December of 1942. Both his father and grandfather were tea sellers. Hu’s father was not a successful businessman, which was a sure thing for that military time: vast territories of China were occupied by Japan. After finishing secondary school in 1959, Hu Jintato went to Beijing and enrolled in the hydraulic engineering department of a technical university. Reporters managed to find some of Hu’s friends of the past. Those people said that they never imagined that their pal would become the national leader of their country. They said that Hu Jintao was very good at organizing dance parties.
Hu Jintao is known for his amazing memory and personal organization. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1964. After he was awarded a diploma, he continued to work in the department of his university, organizing political activities. Hu Jintao was 24 when China experienced the “cultural revolution” initiated by Mao Zedong. That was the time when meetings of school teachers were dispersed and various headquarters were smashed. Educational institutions suffered from as well: classes were suspended in all Chinese high schools for several years. The youth split into two. The majority of young people wanted to establish a “revolutionary order” to smash and crush everything. The minority turned out to be in disgrace.
Hu Jintao found himself in a province as a member of a construction group. When the “cultural revolution started fading away, Hu’s career started developing. There was a strong lack of educated people, and at the beginning of the 1980s, Hu became a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. He was later nominated for the positions of the first secretary of the Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese Youth Federation. In 1985, Hu became a secretary of the Communist Party in the province of Guizhou.
Hu Jintao’s work in the autonomous region of Tibet became a very important and difficult test for his political career on account of the climate and religious conflicts there. China’s Tibet became a starting point for Hu’s participation in the political project of rejuvenation. That period of time was full of political and social controversy.
Test period of ten years
Later, Hu returned back to Beijing and became the head of the Central Party School. He also became a member of the constant committee of the political bureau. He was always young in comparison with his colleagues, but Deng Xiaoping did his best not to buy a pig in a poke as far as the leader of China was concerned.
In the foreign press Hu Jintao is sometimes compared to the person associated with the break up of the Soviet Union: Mikhail Gorbachev. The West allegedly believes that the new national leader of China will not become another Gorbachev.
Hu Jintao makes an impression of a man who is pleasant in his way of communication. Yet, he is careful and closed. He rarely delivers any public speeches, and he has not given interviews to foreign journalists. A year ago, he traveled to Europe, starting his trip with Russia. Then he traveled to England, France, Spain, and Germany. Less than six months later, Hu made another journey, visiting Malaysia, Singapore, and the USA. That trip played a significant role for the improvement of the relations between the United States and China. The White House welcomed Hu Jintao as a country's leader. The United States tried to win the would-be Secretary General over to its side and made several concessions in various moot questions. Hu Jintao proved to be a skillful diplomat. He showed that he was capable of standing up for his country’s rights on the international level.
It is also worth mentioning that the period of 1960s-1980s was a time of ideological struggle against the USSR. When Hu Jintao moved to Beijing, China’s ideological activity was altered to a certain extent. China was paying great attention to study the reasons why the USSR and its communism was crushed. China decided to establish contacts with the ideological centers of the West, particularly with Harvard University. However, China was rather careful about that.
The test period ended successfully. China has a right to be proud of the change of its leadership. It was a serious, thought-out event without any PR mistakes. The Western media noticed that the people of China treated the activity of the historic congress in a quiet way; they were almost indifferent about it. This can be explained with the fact that the Chinese people are certain that there will be no fundamental changes in their lives. They are sure that the political course will remain the same.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov