China's Jinping remains a political enigma


Catapulted into limelight with his elevation as the Vice Chairman of the key Chinese Military Commission which controls the country’s 2.5 million strong standing Peoples’ Liberation Army, Xi is keen to shed the tag of a “princeling” or a “hereditary” communist.

The new leader is in line to succeed President Hu Jintao as the party chief in 2012 and subsequently as the head of the state. His elevation to the frontlines is expected to accompany a big shake up in the top echelons of the Communist Party which has ruled China since 1949.

As many as seven of the nine current members of the key Politburo Standing Committee are expected to stand down in 2012 having completed two consecutive terms. This will pave the way for a takeover by a new generation of leaders in a country that tends to work out succession in advance to prevent power struggles among senior officials.

Being the son of Xi Zhongxun, the moderate who served as Deputy Prime Minister between 1959-62, and later had a fallout with Mao Zedong, Xi has often been described as a “princeling” or a “hereditary” communist.

Bitterness

Apparently giving back at this criticism, he had once said: “I ate a lot more bitterness than most people”.

Xi, 57 a graduate in Chemical Engineering from China’s prestigious Tsinghua University served in a remote mountain village in Yanchuan County in the northwestern province of Shaanxi from 1969 to 1975 when he was only 16 years old.

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