Most famous for:
Releasing the Chinese science culture from the “dark ages” of rote memorization, emphasizing creativity in the pursuit of scientific knowledge, “Going global” and getting China’s world standing up to par.
Crises involving Chinese political foes, economic difficulties, upheaval of affairs in Taiwan and Tibet, and the suppression of student-led protests in 1989. He also freed political prisoners, met an an AIDS epidemic among prisoners, lifted import tariffs on some US goods, supported opening up state-owned industries, encouraged more civil society and encouraged investment in private sector jobs.
Gave nearly 90 percent of the cash from the sale of commercial and rural buses to impoverished villages in southern China, helping finance a beauty salon and insurance program to help mothers of new babies.
Born in Lianying, Hunan province on Dec. 15, 1938.
According to the Chinese Communist Party, he was devoted to making political socialism work in its earliest days and sacrificed his life for the party.
When he was appointed general secretary of the party in 1992, Hu was still just a relatively obscure provincial governor. But in the 10 years that followed, he quickly rose to become a forceful and influential leader who has focused on the “Four Comprehensives” — health, education, food security and pollution. He also conducted a sweeping restructuring of the country’s economy that led to a slow but steady decline in annual growth rate from above 10 percent to around 6 percent.
A former director of the National Astronomical Observatories, Hu promoted science and technology in China.
In 1995, Hu published “Science and Technology in the New Era,” which reshaped science education across the country. He also promoted innovation and economic restructuring and, at age 58, became president in 2002.
His final years, spent more overseas and with a smaller party flock at home, reflected his image as a “princeling” in a country where elite sons and daughters retain a high social standing, no matter how poor their parents are.
Recruited from school in the southwestern province of Yunnan to join the central China Communist Party in 1966, Hu went on to become an economist in the party and the party’s central leadership team before becoming premier in 2007.
Hu assumed the leadership in the Chinese Communist Party in 2002 and became president in 2007.