Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China arrives for his first state visit to the United States this week. Here are a few highlights of the life of China’s 63-year-old leader.

China’s Xi Jinping was born in 1953 and spent his formative years in Beijing.  His parents are from a rural county of China’s northwest Shaanxi Province not far from the famous Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an.  He is the son of the early revolutionary Xi Zhongxun who joined Mao Zedong on the legendary Long March in the 1930’s.

In the late 1960’s, just as many urban youth of the time, Xi Jinping was ‘sent down’ to the countryside. He served seven years working with local farmers working of dams, dikes, and irrigation systems.

File photo taken in 1972 shows Xi Jinping returns home in Beijing to visit his relatives during the time when he is an educated youth in countryside. Photo by Xinhua
File photo taken in 1972 shows Xi Jinping returns home in Beijing to visit his relatives during he served in rural area. Photo by Xinhua

After his work in rural areas, Xi completed his education at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, becoming a Communist Party member in 1974. Xi began his career in local government in the 1980’s serving for two years as a county level official in Zhengding, Hebei province 260 km or 160 miles south of Beijing.

Photo by Xinhua
Photo by Xinhua. Xi Jinping in Zhengding County, Hebei in the 1980’s

In 1985, Xi broadened his career during an assignment to Xiamen, a coastal city in China’s southeastern Fujian Province. As China pushed forward its early economic reforms under Deng Xiaoping, Xi became known as a strong advocate for foreign investment in China’s coastal provinces.

File photo shows Xi Jinping, then vice mayor of Xiamen City of southeast China's Fujian Province, poses for photo during an overseas visit. Photo by Xinhua
File photo shows Xi Jinping when he was vice mayor of Xiamen City of southeast China’s Fujian Province. Photo by Xinhua

Just before his appointment to Vice Mayor of Fujian’s Xiamen City, Xi Jingping made his first trip to America. He joined a work-study program for Chinese officials leading a delegation representing the corn industry to the agricultural state of Iowa.

File photo taken in February 2012 shows Xi Jinping (2nd R, front) and his old American friends who got to know each other 27 years ago have a tea chat at a friend's home during his visit to the State of Iowa in the United States. Photo by Xinhua
File photo taken in February 2012 shows Xi Jinping (2nd R, front) and Americans who had hosted him in Iowa in 1985. Photo by Xinhua

In 1987, Xi Jinping married a popular folk singer, Peng Liyuan.

Peng Liyuan, pictured in May 2015 on a visit to Moscow with her husband to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory In Europe Day. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV
Peng Liyuan, pictured in May 2015 on a visit to Moscow with her husband to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory In Europe Day. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV

In 2002, Xi Jinping was transferred to Zhejiang Province, near Shanghai where he was appointed Provincial Party Chief. Xi was known to advocate strong industrial development policies. It was here that his reputation as a leader taking on corruption in government began.
In 2006, Shanghai’s Communist Party Secretary was dismissed after a corruption scandal. Xi Jinping was assigned to replace him in 2007 with the task of cleaning up city government and growing Shanghai’s position as a major financial center.

Photo by Xinhua
Photo by Xinhua

In October 2007, Xi was chosen one of the nine members of the standing committee of China ruling Politburo (The political bureau of the Communist Party). He was elected General Secretary of the Party in 2012 and became President of the People’s Republic of China in March 2013.

Photo by Xinhua
Photo by Xinhua at Victory Day Parade in Beijing. 

Photo: President Xi through the years

Images of Chinese President Xi Jinping through the years.

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Xi Jinping with his daughter ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 1972. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping (left) in Shaanxi Yanchuan county in 1973. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 1977. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 1979. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 1983. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 1983. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in the US city of San Francisco in the year1985, when he was Zhengding county party secretary. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan in the year 1987, during a visit to Dongshan Island in Fujian. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 1988. ( Xinhua)
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Pic: Xinhua
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Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan in 1989. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 1995. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping with his wife, daughter and father. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping with his mother, ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 2007. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 2008. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 2012. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 2012. ( Xinhua)
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Xi Jinping in 2012. ( Xinhua)
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