Xi Jinping: A star-esque Chinese leader on the rise

Man of the People

“The people’s longing for a good life is what we shall fight for.” said Xi Jinping in his first public address after being elected as Party General Secretary in the 18th National Congress of CPC last November. In this speech, Xi mentioned “people” 19 times, which is a continuation of his people-orientation as a politician, one of the many things that distinguish him.

Xi Jinping visitng migrant worker family in Beijing before the Spring Festival in 2013. Photo: Xinhua

23 days after his election as the helmsman of the CPC, Xi went for his first out-of-Beijing tour. His destination was Shenzhen, the very place Deng Xiaoping visited in 1992. No road was closed for his journey, which was a first for Shenzhen, and for China in many years. It was later revealed on Weibo that for once, a car nearly bumped into Xi’s van. Xi was reported asking the driver “to let the people go first.” Xi later paid tribute to Deng’s statue in Shenzhen’s Lotus Mountain Park. Again, no road blocks, no cordons, no red carpets. Many citizens did not even know they were so close to Xi until they saw him with their very eyes. This new trend, set by Xi himself, is slowly spreading nationwide, which endeared him to many people.

Xi Jinping at a vegetable market during his visit to Lanzhou in early February . Photo: Xinhua

True to his habit for many years, Xi’s visits did not stop at Shenzhen. Later in the same month, he visited one of the poorest counties in China, Fuping in Hebei province, the very province where he started his political career. He was reported saying: It will be worth it if I could see true poverty. What made this trip special was a post on Xinhua News Agency’s official Weibo which revealed Xi’s dinner menu: four dishes and one soup. Later it was added that the menu was for a table of ten. Xi’s simple style was in line with the Politburo’s resolution on improving work style earlier that month. With Xi and other members of the Politburo setting examples in taking these steps during their many inspection tours, it seems that these are not merely hollow slogans.

Xi Jinping visiting a cafeteria in a senior citizens' center in Lanzhou in February. Photo: Xinhua

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