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Xi’s From the Countryside

The New York Times has an interesting partial profile of ascendant Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who is slated to take over the leadership of China’s Communist Party at the upcoming party congress. The article outlines Mr. Xi’s decision as a young man to do a stint in a rural precinct as a deputy party secretary. Smart move, it turns out:

Even three decades into the country’s rapid industrialization, China’s leadership still pays heed to its heritage as a party of peasants, and it has tended to promote officials who can claim to be deeply rooted in the rural struggle. But it has also tended to favor “princelings,” the privileged offspring of former leaders who had ties to the party’s revolutionary history.

After his time in Zhengding, Mr. Xi could check both boxes.

Read the whole thing. It provides both some insight into the mind of China’s future leader, as well as a glimpse of the inner workings of power in among China’s Communists, which the article trenchantly sums up in its last paragraph:

“You can’t separate his accomplishments from his political support,” said Yang Zhongmei, a Xi biographer and lecturer at Yokohama City University. “This is the model you see today: if you have enough political support and money, you can accomplish a lot.”

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