- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
Xi’s rise to top began in adversity
New leader of China expected to focus on economy, reform
Xi Jinping, anointed last month as China’s new leader, was an impressionable 9-year-old in 1962 when his father, a prominent revolutionary and vice premier, fell out of favor with Mao Zedong.
Six years later, as his father languished in prison, Mr. Xi was among the millions of “intellectual youth” who were banished from urban areas to the countryside during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which sought to enforce communism across China.
He was sent to Liangjiahe, a remote village in China’s impoverished northwestern province of Shaanxi, where he worked as an agricultural laborer.
“He spent six years there, cutting hay, reaping wheat and shepherding in the daytime, and then reading books in the dim light of a kerosene lamp while enduring the harassment of fleas at night,” according to Mr. Xi’s official biography published in China’s state media.
Recalling those days, Mr. Xi would later tell a Chinese magazine: “I ate a lot more bitterness than most people.”
Born in Beijing in 1953, Mr. Xi is a “princeling,” a term given to children of high-ranking Communist Party officials.
For most of his life, Mr. Xi has had to battle the negative perceptions associated with princelings, whose political success is seen by many Chinese as a consequence of their elite parentage rather than their own talent or hard work.
Mr. Xi was openly critical of the Cultural Revolution but did not shun the Communist Party. Instead, Mr. Xi “chose to survive by becoming redder than red,” as an acquaintance of his said, according to a leaked U.S. Embassy cable,
“This is a man who knows how to make friends, both in the party and outside the party,” said Yang Jianli, president of Initiatives for China, a U.S.-based organization dedicated to advancing peaceful democratic change in China.
On Nov. 15, Mr. Xi was confirmed to lead China for the next decade when he was named secretary general of the Communist Party of China.
Mr. Xi stands in stark contrast to the man he has succeeded: Hu Jintao.
“You feel relaxed when you talk to him. He is approachable. He is not a bureaucrat,” said Chi Wang, president of the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, who has met Mr. Xi a few times, including in Washington earlier this year.
After Mao died in 1976, Mr. Xi’s father was rehabilitated and appointed party secretary of Guangdong province, where he oversaw economic reforms.
His father’s connections helped secure him a spot in the elite Tsinghua University and later a job as personal secretary to Geng Biao, who was defense minister at the time.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- U.S. teacher shot dead in Benghazi after al Qaeda call for violence
- Syria nightmare: Fresh fears about al Qaeda fighters there returning home as sleeper terrorists
- Iran official: Sanctions 'utterly failed' to stop nuclear program
- China accuses Japan of raising tensions over new air defense zone
- Joe Biden meets Xi Jinping in China to try to defuse tensions on air defense zone
Obama ups the partisanship with a class-warfare speech
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Russian diplomats busted bilking $1.5 million from Medicaid
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- CURL: 'Mission Accomplished' for Obamacare
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on 'outdated' agencies
- Democratic infighting erupts over 'we can have it all' fantasy on entitlements
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!