Jiang Zemin was born in 1926 in Yangzhou (Jiangsu). He joined the communist party in 1946. After studying in the Jiaotong University of Shanghai where he got an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, he was one of 1,000 workers selected to be sent for training at the Staline Auto plant outside Moscow. Upon his return, he was assigned to the First Automobile Works in Changchun where he spent five years (1956-1961) and became Director of the power plant and was put in charge of 1,000 workers.
In 1962, he left Changchun to work in various institutes in Shanghai and Wuhan before moving to the foreign affairs department of the First Ministry of Machine Building.
He was appointed Vice-Minister in 1982. He entered the Central Committee of the CPC in September 1982 (12th Congress). He became Mayor of Shanghai in 1983. He relinquished his position in favor of Zhu Rongji in April 1988 when he became the Shanghai Party Secretary.
He was elected Party General Secretary in June 1989 and has been reelected in 1992 and in 1997. He became President in 1992 and retired in 2002.