China’s President Hu Jintao has topped U.S. President Barack Obama on the Forbes list of most powerful people, with the magazine pointing to Hu’s sweeping powers and the stinging defeat of Obama’s Democrats in legislative polls.
Hu was the world’s most powerful person, saying he “exercises near dictatorial control over 1.3 billion people, one-fifth of world’s population”, the magazine said on Thursday.
“Unlike Western counterparts, Hu can divert rivers, build cities, jail dissidents and censor Internet without meddling from pesky bureaucrats, courts,” it said.
Hu topped Obama, last year’s most powerful person, whose Democratic Party suffered major losses in congressional elections on Tuesday.
Forbes said it was “quite a comedown” for Obama, “who after enacting widespread reforms in his first two years in office will be hard-pressed to implement his agenda in the next two.”
Forbes magazine last month listed First Lady Michelle Obama as the world’s most powerful woman.
The magazine, whose editor Steve Forbes is a former Republican presidential candidate, infuriated the White House in September by running an essay saying Obama was consumed by “anti-colonialism” inherited from his Kenyan father.