XI JINPING: CHINESE MANDELA?
I would put him in the Nelson Mandela class of persons. A person with enormous emotional stability who does not allow his personal misfortunes or sufferings affect his judgment. In other words, he is impressive.–Lee Kwan Yew, Founder of Singapore.
China’s greatest contribution to the human race is to keep its 1.3 billion people from hunger. China doesn’t export Revolution; China doesn’t export hunger and poverty; China doesn’t come and cause you headaches. What more is there to be said?–Xi Jinping, Future President of China.
Hu Jintao, China’s current president, was recognized early for his humility. Xi Jinping has been recognized all his life for his honesty. Both are engineers, both are enormously competetent.
Xi Jinping’s credentials are impeccable. His father was a Revolutionary hero who was imprisoned for supporting more democracy in China. Jinping himself was exiled to a hut in one of China’s poorest villages for 7 bitter years. That’s what Lee Kwan Yu was talking about: he does not allow his personal misfortunes or sufferings affect his judgment.. When asked about this experience later, 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…”.
Undiscouraged, he joined the Communist Party (in 1974, while his father was still in jail) and rose through its ranks. Xi joined the People’s Liberation Army and worked as a secretary to the then-defense minister while on active duty at the powerful Central Military Commission. This insight into China’s military will stand him in good stead as president.
Xi studied chemical engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing from 1975-9 and then served a long stint as a Party official in poor rural areas of Hebei, the northern province that surrounds Beijing. (He recently returned for a visit and was apparently horrified at how little difference the Government’s programs had made). From the mid-1980s, Xi shifted to the export powerhouse provinces and cities on China’s southeastern coast. In quick succession he rose to the top of the government in Fujian, then Zhejiang province, becoming Communist Party secretary there in 2002.
In 2007, he was named party secretary in Shanghai, sent in to mop up after his predecessor was jailed and disgraced in a massive scandal over misuse of the city’s social security funds. After a short stint in Shanghai, in the fall of 2007, Xi was elevated to the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party Central, ranking 6th on the elite nine-member group that rules China.
He was appointed China’s vice-president in March 2008. In October 2010, he added an important political title seen as a strong indication that he will succeed Hu: Vice Chairman of the Communist Party’s Central Military Commission. American leaders who have met Xi describe him as a man of “immense competence”.