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China's New Leader Is Mystery Man

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China has a new leader, and not too many people know anything about him.

Hu Jintao, a former engineer, is now the head of China's Communist Party and is now, in effect, the country's leader. He was vice president for several years before being named general secretary.

Hu's taking over was significant because it was the first peaceful transfer of power in the entire 81-year history of the Chinese Communist Party. Rulers before had taken power with violence, the last being Jiang Zemin, who took power after the bloody end to student-led protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Jiang remains in his post as military chief; and six of the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, who advise the leader and wield great power, are supporters of Jiang. So, in effect, Jiang is still in control of the government.

Hu faces a tough road ahead: His country is in economic trouble, amid growing concerns over trade imbalance and terrorist threats. His largely un-talked-about past naturally makes people curious about him. He had served for several years as vice president yet made rare public appearances. And now that his country is facing serious economic concerns, he finds himself at the head of the most populous nation on Earth.

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday

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