When Hu Jintao entered the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 14th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) five years ago, he was the youngest member in this top decision-making body of the CPC.
His re-election to the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 15th CPC Central Committee reflected the Party's confidence in this young, energetic leader, who is now 54 year sold(1998).
When he served as a member of the Standing Committeeof the Political Bureau of the 14th Party Central Committee, Hu was in charge of Party affairs, serving concurrently as president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
Over the past five years, he has won praise from all quarters for his outstanding theoretical attainment and his sure, steady style of work.
When he was elected into the CPC Central Committee 15 years ago, Hu was only 39, also the youngest.
Born in December 1942 in Jixi County, East China's Anhui Province, Hu studied hydroelectric engineering in Beijing's Qinghua University, China's most prestigious polytechnic university, where he joined the CPC in April 1964.
As an outstanding student in his department, Hu dreamed of becoming an expert in hydropower. He once said it was not his original intention to go into politics.
After his graduation in July 1965, Hu stayed at Qinghua as a researcher and political instructor until the beginning of the "cultural revolution" (1966-76). In 1968, he was sent to work in Gansu, one of China's poorest provinces in the northwest.
After one year of physical labour on a housing construction team, he served consecutively as technician, office secretary and deputy Party secretary in an engineering bureau under the Ministry of Water Resources and Electric Power. This marked the beginning of his career in Party affairs.
In 1974, he was transferred to the Gansu Provincial Construction Committee and served as secretary. From 1975 to 1980, he was deputy chief of the committee's designing management division.
For his excellent performance, he was promoted to deputy director of the committee in 1980, and later was appointed secretary of the Gansu Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League(CCYL).
During the 11th National Congress of the CCYL convened in 1982, Hu was elected a member of the Secretariat of the CCYL Central Committee and president of the All-China Youth Federation.
In November 1984, he became the first secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Youth League, becoming the top leader of China's largest youth organization.
In 1985, when he was 42, Hu was appointed secretary of the CPC Guizhou Provincial Committee, again the youngest of his rank across the country.
Within two years, he visited 86 counties, cities and prefectures in this poverty-stricken southwestern province. He once said economic development in poverty-stricken areas requires people's dedication.
At the end of 1988, Hu became secretary of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee. During his four-year stay there,despite the harsh natural conditions on the Tibet Plateau, Hu visited many areas and made extensive contacts with people in various circles, making great contributions to this region's ethnic unity, social stability and economic growth.
During the 14th CPC National Congress in October 1992, Hu was elected Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, as well as a member of the Central Committee's Secretariat. He has served as president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee since 1993.
He was also a member of the Standing Committee of the Sixth National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
His former colleagues said Hu is a very persuasive person, and very good at coping with complicated situations with firm principles and flexible tactics.
Speaking of the basic qualities of a leader, Huonce said a good leader must have firm beliefs and lofty pursuits, do solid work, seek no fame or gain, do away with a bureaucratic air and share the feelings of the masses.
A good leader should encourage democracy and also be capable of taking resolute action at critical moments, and must love life, he added.
Hu's experience with China's youth work has enabled him to have a better understanding of the country's younger generation.He once noted that in the process of China's reform, Chinese youth should not only have a sense of urgency and a sense of mission, but also a good understanding of the hardships and complicated nature of the reform.
"Do not cherish excessively high expectations while your psychological capacity to bear upon is low," he was quoted as saying.
Hu loves literature and art, with a special interest in movies, operas and novels. He was a member of the student dance team in his university years. When he worked in the Communist Youth League Central Committee, he occasionally danced solo at parties. He also plays table tennis fairly well. Hu and his wife, who now works in the Beijing Municipal Construction Committee, were schoolmates at Qinghua. They have a son and a daughter.