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Xi Jinping - Vice President
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Born into the family of a former vice premier but tempered by hardships in the countryside, Xi Jinping made his way solidly from a village head to a state leader.

Xi, 54, was elected vice president of the People's Republic of China on Saturday, five months after he was promoted to the nine-member Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the top decision-making body of the ruling party. His predecessor is 68-year-old Zeng Qinghong.

Xi also takes charge of Party affairs and the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, Hong Kong and Macao affairs, and a top-level leading group for the preparations of the Beijing Olympics and Paralymics.

Before coming to Zhongnanhai, the compound of the country's top leaders in downtown Beijing, in October last year, Xi had just reshaped the image of China's financial center of Shanghai as secretary of the city's Party Committee. A social security fund scandal had led to the downfall of the city's former Party chief Chen Liangyu and more than a dozen senior city officials and businessmen.

Xi pledged to be "a good student, a good civil servant and a good team leader" upon arrival in Shanghai in March last year and urged local officials to be stricter with themselves.

He also called on Shanghai people to be more open-minded, and increase cooperation and share achievements with other regions of the country, instead of just focusing on the development of their own city.

After seven months of hard work, Xi succeeded in not only maintaining stability in Shanghai but also polishing its tarnished image by bringing fresh flood into the city. Shanghai is now more open, harmonious and dynamic.

Low profile, solid steps

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.

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