China's Hu is World's Most Powerful Person

Chinese President Hu Jintao waves upon his arrival to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in Paris, 04 Nov 2010

A U.S. business magazine says that Chinese President Hu Jintao has replaced U.S. President Barack Obama as the most powerful person in the world.

Forbes magazine said Thursday that Mr. Hu, second on last year's list to the American leader, was the "paramount political leader" of more people than anywhere else in the world. Forbes said Mr. Hu "exercises near dictatorial control" over 1.3 billion people, a fifth of the world's population.

The magazine said Mr. Obama's fortunes have fallen, especially after Tuesday's U.S. congressional elections resulted in opposition Republicans reclaiming control of the House of Representatives and more seats in the Senate. Forbes said the election was "quite a come-down" for Mr. Obama even though he still commands "the world's largest, deadliest military."

Forbes ranked Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Pope Benedict XVI as third, fourth and fifth most powerful.

The magazine said that Mr. Hu, unlike Western leaders, can "divert rivers, build cities, jail dissidents and censor Internet without meddling from pesky bureaucrats (and) courts."

Forbes listed three notorious world figures on its list of 68. It ranked al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 2001 attacks on the U.S., at No. 57; Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Guzman Loera at No. 60 and D-Company leader Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, boss of a Mumbai crime syndicate, at No. 63.

Some information for this report was provided by Forbes, AFP and Economic Times