Friday, February 17, 2012

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping (Pinyin: Xí Jìnpíng, pronounced [ɕǐ tɕînpʰǐŋ]; born 1 June 1953) is a high-ranking politician of the People's Republic of China. He currently serves as the top-ranking member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, the country's Vice President, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission, President of the Central Party School and the 6th ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top power organ.

Son of communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, Xi Jinping served mostly in Fujian province in his early career. He was later appointed party chief of the neighboring Zhejiang province, and then was appointed as Shanghai's party chief following the dismissal of Chen Liangyu. Known for his tough stance on corruption and a frank openness about political and market economy reforms, Xi's combination of positions makes him the presumptive heir to current General Secretary and President Hu Jintao and the emerging leader of the Communist Party of China's fifth generation of leadership.

Early Life
Xi Jinping was born in June 1953 in Beijing and is, by Chinese convention, a native of Fuping County, Shaanxi, his ancestral home. He is the youngest son of Xi Zhongxun, one of the founders of the Communist guerrilla movement in Shaanxi Province in northern China and former Vice-Premier. At the time his father served as the head of the Communist Party's propaganda department and later Vice-Chairman of the National People's Congress. When Xi was 10, his father was purged and sent to work in a factory in Luoyang. Xi was 15 when his father was jailed in 1968, during the Cultural Revolution. Without the protection of his father, Xi went to work in Yanchuan County, Yan'an, Shaanxi, in 1969 in Mao Zedong's Down to the Countryside Movement. He later became the Party branch secretary of the production team. When he left in 1975, he was only 22 years old. When asked about this experience later by state television, Xi recalled it saying, "It was emotional. It was a mood. And when the ideals of the Cultural Revolution could not be realised, it proved an illusion."

From 1975 to 1979, Xi studied chemical engineering at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University. From 1979 to 1982 he served as secretary for his father's former subordinate Geng Biao, the then vice premier and Secretary-General of the Central Military Commission. This gained Xi some military background.

Personal Life
Xi married the famous Chinese folk singer Peng Liyuan (丽媛) in 1987, his second marriage. Peng Liyuan, a household name in China, was much better known to the public than Xi until his political elevation. The couple frequently live apart due to their largely separate lives. They are sometimes considered China's emerging star political couple. They have a daughter named Xi Mingze (习明泽), who enrolled as a freshman at Harvard University in the Fall of 2010 under a pseudonym.

Peng has described Xi as frugal, hardworking and down to earth. "When he comes home, I've never thought of it as though there's some leader in the house. In my eyes, he's just my husband."

Xi was described in a 2011 Washington Post article by those who know him as "pragmatic, serious, cautious, hard-working, down to earth and low-key. They also say he is a problem-solver and a leader seemingly uninterested in the trappings of high office." He is also known to love Hollywood films like Saving Private Ryan and The Departed. The Guardian noted that "perhaps more surprisingly" he has also praised the independent film maker, Jia Zhangke.

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