The Princeling who became China's president

China's Vice-President Xi Jinping is tipped to be the next president.
China's Vice-President Xi Jinping is tipped to be the next president. Photo: Reuters

China's ruling Communist Party has unveiled the new team that will lead the country for the next ten years.

Xi Jinping was confirmed as the new general secretary taking over from outgoing President Hu Jinto, he will become head of state in March.

ITV News China Correspondent Angus Walker reports.

The 59-year-old is a so-called Princeling; the son of a Communist revolutionary General, Xi Zhongxun, who later became a Vice Premier.

After his father was jailed during China's Cultural Revolution when he was 15-years-old, Xi was sent to a remote village in the poor north-western province of Shaanxi.

He spent a tough seven years living in a cave-like house learning "the communist way".

Describing this time, Xi once told a Chinese magazine, "I ate a lot more bitterness than most people".

In 1998, he also wrote:

When I arrived at the Yellow Earth [Shaanxi] aged 15, I was anxious and confused.

When I left the Yellow Earth at 22, my life goals were firm and I was filled with confidence.

Mr Xi later went on to study chemical engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

He joined the Communist Party in 1974, and since then has served in a variety of roles, progressively stepping up the ladder until he became vice-president in 2008.

According to ITV News' China Correspondent, Angus Walker, his track record as he rose through the ranks in China's eastern provinces revealed a business friendly approach, he was known as a problem solver who understood.

Newly elected Vice-President Xi shakes hands with his predecessor Zeng Qinghong in 2008.
Newly elected Vice-President Xi shakes hands with his predecessor Zeng Qinghong in 2008. Credit: Reuters

Mr Xi has been married to well-known Chinese folk singer Peng Liyuan for over 25 years.

She regularly performs on State media's New Year's Gala, which is the most watched programme of the year.

Peng Liyuan
Mr Xi's wife Peng Liyuan is a Chinese folk singer Credit: CCTV

Peng is also an army general in the People's Liberation Army.

The couple have a daugher, Xi Mingze, who is reportedly studying at Harvard.

Xi has spent time in the West, as aParty official in the mid 1980s he visited farms in the US, and briefly living with a family in the Iowa town of Muscatine.

He returned to the state in February 2012 as part of an international trip to raise his profile.

China Vice President Xi is welcomed by Iowa Governor before a state dinner in February 2012
China Vice President Xi is welcomed by Iowa Governor before a state dinner in February 2012 Credit: Reuters

According to a leaked US diplomatic cable, Xi loves Hollywood war movies and is a keen basketball fan.

During his trip to the US, he met NBA basketball legend Magic Johnson at a Los Angeles Lakers game.

Xi Jinping meets Magic Johnson at a NBA basketball game in Los Angeles in February 2012
Xi Jinping meets Magic Johnson at a NBA basketball game in Los Angeles in February 2012 Credit: REUTERS/Alex Gallardo

Mr Xi also showed off his own sporting skills during a trip to Ireland, later that month.

Xi Jinping kicks a football during a visit to Croke Park in Dublin.
Xi Jinping kicks a football during a visit to Croke Park in Dublin. Credit: Julien Behal/PA

In September, there were concerns for the whereabouts and well-being of Mr Xi after he went 'missing' for two weeks.

Rumours were abound that he had a serious illness, had suffered a heart stroke, or even that he had been in a car crash.

He finally reappeared on 15th September, after recovering from what was said to be a back injury sustained while swimming.

Read: Vice-President Xi Jinping reappears at a university event