Hu Jintao is not a terrible ruler. How can he be? Although relatively young for his supreme position, Hu had gone through the most rigorous Party training and raised to the top, on the way passing many veteran communists with seniority rankings. Hu is careful not to make any of the political enemies uncomfortable in the long time, more than 10 years, in the waiting room of absolute power.
However, hu is nothing but a young old time Party member. Under his regime, preluded by promise to build a 'harmonic' society, ordinary Chinese people lost many of the little freedom tolerated or overlooked by the CCP for years. Any 'unharmonious' voice is censored, and the person silences, usually by jailing behind bars. It looks Hu attempted to bring back the country 50 years back to the hight of the communism utopia (as described in official publications), but obviously Hu does not have any political cloud to achieve that, unless Chairman Mao.
Hu is the leader of the gang of Communist Youth League (CYL), a peripheral organization of CCP for youth. Every Chinese knows gangs of Communist Youth League with first hand experience. In universities, only students with bad grades cling to posts of CYL, because that's the only way they can use to bargain for a good job upon graduation. Students with good grades, or strong family background, or social connections all care less about the CYL. In a sense, the CYL produces the exclusive career bureaucratic whose natural instinct is avoid trouble by all cost. That partially explained Hu's expertise in keeping a low profile.