Chen Xitong, Han nationality, was born in 1930 in Anyue, Sichuan province. He joined the CPC in 1949, and was the focus of a major corruption scandal in Beijing in the mid-1990s.
Chen attended Beijing University's Chinese Department from 1948 to 1949. He worked in the Beijing Party Committee and Beijing Government in the 1950s and 1960s before being sent down to the countryside for labor reform from 1966 to 1971 during the Cultural Revolution. He became deputy mayor of Beijing in 1979 and mayor in 1983. He was the Party Secretary of Beijing starting in 1981. Chen became a member of the CPC Politboro in 1992.
Chen was the focus of a massive corruption scandal in the mid 1990s, accused of embezzling over US$2 billion from the Beijing municipal treasury. He lost his posts in 1995, his CPC membership in 1997, and was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment in 1998.
In July 2006, Chen was released on medical parole after serving eight years of his sentence.