(born Dec. 25, 1942, Taizhou, Jiangsu province, China) General secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP; from 2002) and president of China (from 2003). After studying engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Hu laboured as a construction worker in Gansu province, where he met Song Ping, a party elder who became Hu's mentor and later introduced him to the CCP general secretary, Hu Yaobang. By the mid-1980s Hu Jintao had risen to general secretary of the Chinese Communist Youth League (CCYL), and in 1985 he was appointed party secretary for Guizhou province, where he helped implement educational and economic reforms. Named a member of the CCP Central Committee in 1987, he was sent to Tibet the following year as a provincial party secretary. In 1992 he was appointed a member of the Secretariat of the CCP Central Committee, and in 1998 he was elected vice president of China. Hu succeeded President Jiang Zemin as general secretary of the CCP in 2002 and was elected president the following year. In 2004 he became head of the Central Military Commission after Jiang resigned the post.