Xi Jinping (born 15 June 1953) is the current President of the People's Republic of China, and the General Secretary of its sole governing Communist Party, serving since 2012, and one of the most controversial figures of the early 21st century.
Xi was born in Beijing to Mao's Propaganda Minister, Xi Zhongxun. Unfortunately for the Jinping, his privileged upbringing was cut short was his father was purged during the Cultural Revolution and one of his sisters was killed by student militants. Zhongxun was thrown into prison, and the would-be-President of China was exiled to a rural village, where lived in a cave for several months, before attempting an escape back to Beijing. He was arrested following a crackdown on escapees and forced to dig ditches in a labour camp. By befriending a local official, however, Xi managed to join the Youth League before attempting to apply for the Communist Party (he would finally be accepted on his tenth attempt). After this, he studied chemical engineering and politics at Tsinghua University.
Starting as the deputy party secretary of a small county, Xi served in four different provinces throughout his career, serving as Governor of Fujian and Party Secretary of Zhejiang, where he came to prominence for his purges and anti-corruption campaigns. In 2007, he was transferred to Shanghai following a scandal by it's previous Party secretary. In 2008, he was selected by the Vice President for Hu Jintao, an infamously bland leader with the charisma of a brick (and later establishment Butt-Monkey). Throughout his tenure, Hu presided over increasing corruption in the government before stepping down in 2013. In the same year, Xi was appointed president by the Party, mostly on the belief that he would sit down and file paperwork. It didn't go so well. Upon entering the office, Xi began to purge political rivals for supposed corruption. Among the purged was Bo Xilai, whose wife was well-known in the west for killing a British journalist, and Zhou Youkang, who oversaw China's law enforcement. These actions endeared him to a section of the Chinese populace who grew tired of rising corruption during the term of his predecessor. In 2018, Xi amended the constitution, removing term limits and was effectively turned into China's President for Life.
While the PRC was by no means considered a free country by any measure, it's thought that it has become more repressive under Xi's tenure ever since it opened up and readjusted it's system to the rest of the world. The censorship campaign became infamous when memes of Winnie-the-Pooh was blocked on Chinese social media after comparisons with Xinote . His government also implemented the Social System Credit which critics have accused of being a mass surveillance tool revolving around data collection and blackistings for citizens deemed "untrustworthy". His "Xi Jiping thought" became enshrined in the Chinese constitution and universities have implemented it in their curriculum, something not seen since Mao Zedong. Under his administration China seems to have shifted from its previous stance to become more involved in the international community as well as its exerting influences.
Xi Jinping has been featured/referenced in the following media:
- South Park: He appears in the episode "Band in China" which tackles the subject of Western corporations appeasing to the Chinese government in an effort to tap into their market, as well as referencing the Winnie the Pooh incident. Needless to say, the episode got the entire series banned in the country.