Hu Jintao was born on 21 December 1942, in Jiangyan, a town located in the Chinese Province of Jiangsu. He studied hydraulic engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1964.
Whilst working as an engineer, Jintao led a dazzling political career at the head of the CCP. In 1980, the secretary of the Gansu committee named Jintao deputy head of the Regional Commission. In 1982, he was promoted to the role of Secretary of Gansu’s Youth League, and was appointed as the leader of the Young Persons’ Federation of China. He then moved to Beijing to study at the CCP’s main school, before becoming head of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League. In 1985, Jintao was sent to Guizhou, China, where he became Secretary of the CCP’s provincial committee.
In 1988, Jintao was named Secretary of the Communist Party of China Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee, in a context drenched in conflict, given that the region was then in the midst of a full struggle for independence, against the Chinese Central Government. Although the protests began in 1987, the intensification of the violence took place in March 1988 – harshly supressed by Jintao whilst he was the spokesperson of the CCP for Tibet. The repression peaked in February 1989, when Jintao ordered the deployment of 1700 People’s Armed Police officers in Lhassa, the capital of Tibet. These same police officers were accused of an excessive use of force against the population. On 8 March 1989, Jintao asked Beijing to declare martial law in Tibet, which the Tibetan people were subjected to until 1990.
In June 1990, Jintao returned to Beijing, aiming to integrate the central power of the CCP, gradually acquiring the responsibilities of First Secretary of the CCP between 1992 and 2003, then Secretary General of the CCP between 2002 and 2013, and finally the role of the Chinese Head of State between 14 March 2003 and 15 March 2013.
During his mandate as President, he was the subject of considerable criticism from Human Rights organisations for his involvement in the repression of Tibetan protestors between 1988 and 1990; for preventing Chinese man Liu Xiaobo from travelling with his family in Oslo, Norway, where he was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 he was awarded. President Jintao vehemently protested against the Norwegian Government’s decision to give the Nobel Price to Liu; Norway replied that the Nobel Prize Committee was independent of any government. Chinese activists who welcomed Liu’s Nobel Peace Prize were placed under arrest by Jintao.
On 28 June 2005, the Tibetan Support Committee (Comité de Apoyo al Tibet), the Foundation “House of Tibet” (Fundacion Casa del Tibet) and Thubten Wangchen, a Tibetan in exile, filed a criminal complaint against eight defendants (including Kuyian,Deng Delyun; Hu Jintao, former secretary of the CCP for the autonomous region of Tibet from 1988 to 1992; Jiang Zemin, former President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from 1993 to 2003, former Secretary General of the CCP from 1989 to 2002, President of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2004; Li Peng, former Chinese Prime Minister from 1987 to 1998; Ren Rong, Secretary of the CCP from 1971 to 1980; Yin Fatang, Secretary of the CCP from 1980 to 1985; Qiao Shi, Head of the International Liaison Department in China, Head of the Central Committee, member of the permanent Politburo committee, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in China) before the Spanish National Court (Audiencia Nacional) on the basis of the principle of universal jurisdiction for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, torture and terrorism, committed against Tibetans in the late 1980s and 1990s.