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During his early childhood, Chinese President Xi Jinping enjoyed a privileged upbringing. His father was a hero of the Chinese Communist Revolution, and life was good. But in 1963, when Xi was 10 years old, his father was purged from the Communist Party and jailed during what became known as the Cultural Revolution. His family was humiliated, and his formal education stopped. Student militants trashed the family home, and one of Xi’s sisters committed suicide.
As part of Chairman Mao Zedong’s campaign to send privileged urban youths to work in the countryside to get rid of their "pro-bourgeois thinking," Xi ended up living in a cave house and working on a farm in the isolated and dirt-poor village of Liangjiahe. Village life in China was difficult in the 1960s, and the teenage Xi led a life of physical labor.
Eventually, after being rejected seven times, Xi joined the Communist Youth League of China in 1971 by befriending a local official. He applied to join the Chinese Communist Party 10 times and was finally accepted in 1974. After studying chemical engineering and serving in numerous political posts, Xi’s redemption was complete when he ascended to be President of the People's Republic of China in 2013.
Xi Jinping's road to power:
- Since assuming power, Xi has introduced far-reaching measures designed to enforce party discipline and unity. His anti-corruption campaign led to the downfall of many prominent Communist Party officials.
- In 2018, Xi abolished presidential term limits.
- Today, the cave where Xi lived as a teenager is a heavily guarded shrine.