Occupation: President of China
Previous TIME 100 appearances: 4
Over the past year, Hu Jintao saw his country surpass Japan as the world's second largest economy. He steadied the Asian giant through recession while presiding over one of the most rapidly modernizing militaries on the planet. A quiet, opaque operator, he also successfully installed a close ally of his, Xi Jinping, as his likely successor possibly cementing his political legacy for years to come.
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