Xi Jinping has recently been in the news, all over the world, but for the wrong reasons. He is being held responsible for the spread of Corona-virus that started in Wuhan, China. The virus is also called Wuhan-virus because it originated from Wuhan. Countries located in South and East China Sea and even India have launched a fierce broadside against him for his expansionist approach, by applying the tactics of salami slicing. He is also being criticized for the genocide being carried out on the Muslim population in Xinjiang province in China, and is also at war with India on the Galwan valley. He is also being targeted for the Chinese suppression of Tibet the proverbial ‘Roof of the World.’
I’m of the opinion that a nation is known by its premier and how he or she handles the country. For example, just look at US. Where it was, and where, it has come to, under Donald Trump. See Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Study India under the governance of Nehru, Indira, Narasimha Rao, Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and now Narendra Modi. Every leader is different—some soft and some belligerent. Countries keep changing with their leaders and so has China. Leaders undergo their mettle making. Their circumstances and experiences make or break them. Compare Narendra Modi with Rahul Gandhi. Narendra Modi has had a struggling and tough childhood, whereas, Rahul Gandhi has had a cosy childhood being a dynast. So the fire in them are very different. Xi Jinping too has had a tough childhood. He too is a dynast but of a different variety, that communists breed, and that is why, one sees, the cloak and dagger approach in him.
Xi Jinping was born in Beijing on 15 June 1953. He happens to be the second son of Xi Zhongxun and his wife Qi Xin. Xi is the family name. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 by Mao Zedong, Xi’s father held a series of posts, including party propaganda chief, vice-premier, and Vice Chairperson of the National People’s Congress. Xi Zhongxun was a Chinese communist revolutionary and a subsequent political official in the People’s Republic of China. He is considered to be among the first generation of Chinese leadership. The contributions he made to the Chinese communist revolution, and the development of the People’s Republic, from the founding of Communist guerrilla bases in northwest China in the 1930s, to initiation of economic liberalization in southern China in the 1980s, are numerous and broad. He was known for political moderation and for the setbacks he endured in his career. He was imprisoned and purged several times.
Xi had two elder sisters, Qiao-Qiao born in 1949 and An’an born in 1952. Xi’s father was from Fuping County, in Shaanxi province. He could further trace his patrilineal descent from Xiying in Dengzhou county, in Henan China.
Xi Jinping went to the Beijing 101 Middle School in the 1960s. There, he developed a close friendship with Liu He, who later became China’s vice-premier and a close advisor to Xi after he became China’s paramount leader. In 1963, when Xi Jinping was aged 10, his father was purged from the party and sent to work in a factory in Luoyang, Henan. In May 1966, the Cultural Revolution cut short Xi’s secondary education when all secondary classes were halted for students to criticise and fight their teachers. Student militants ransacked Xi’s family home. This is when one of Xi’s sisters, Xi Heping, committed suicide because of the pressure. Later, Xi’s mother was forced to publicly denounce his father, as he was paraded before a crowd as an enemy of the revolution. His father was later thrown into the prison in 1968 when Xi was just 15. Without the protection of his father, Xi was sent to work in Liangjiahe Village, Wen’-anyi Town, Yanchuan County, Yan’an, Shaanxi, in 1969 in Mao Zedong’s Down to the Countryside Movement (The Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement, often known simply as the Down to the Countryside Movement, was a policy instituted in the People’s Republic of China in the late 1960s and early 1970s). He worked as the party secretary of Liangjiahe, where he lived in a cave house. After a few months, unable to stand rural life, he ran away to Beijing. Where, he was arrested during a crackdown on deserters from the countryside and sent to a work camp, to dig ditches.
After being rejected seven times, Xi joined the Communist Youth League of China in 1971 by befriending a local official. He reunited with his father in 1972, because of a family reunion ordered by Premier Zhou Enlai. From 1973 onwards, he applied to join the Communist Party of China ten times and was finally accepted on his tenth attempt in 1974. From 1975 to 1979, Xi studied chemical engineering at Beijing’s Tsinghua University as a “Worker-Peasant-Soldier student”. But the engineering majors there spent about 15 percent of their time studying Marxism-Leninism- and Mao Zedong’s thoughts and 5 percent of their time was spent doing farm work and “learning from the People’s Liberation Army”.
Xi Jinping has served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) since 2012, and President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since 2013. Xi has been the paramount leader, the most prominent political leader in China, since 2012, and he has officially received the title of “leadership core” from the CPC in 2016. Only four leaders so far have been given this designation. They are Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Xi Jinping. Xi has also been a member of the 17th, 18th, 19th CPC Politburo Standing Committee since 2007.
Xi rose through the ranks politically in China’s coastal provinces. He was the Governor of Fujian from 1999 to 2002, before becoming Governor and Party Secretary of neighbouring Zhe-jiang from 2002 to 2007. Following the dismissal of the Party Secretary of Shanghai, Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to replace him for a brief period in 2007. He subsequently joined the Politburo Standing Committee and Central Secretariat in October 2007. In 2008 he was designated as Hu Jintao’s (a Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of China from 2002 to 2012) presumed successor and as a paramount leader. Later Xi was appointed Vice President of the People’s Republic of China and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Xi is the first General Secretary born after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Since assuming power, he has introduced far-ranging measures to enforce party discipline and to impose internal unity. His anti-corruption campaign has led to the downfall of many prominent incumbent and retired Communist Party officials, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee. He has also enacted or promoted a more assertive foreign policy, particularly with regard to China-Japan relations, China’s claims in the South China Sea, and its advocacy for free trade and Globalisation. He has sought to expand China’s African and Eurasian influence through the Belt and Road Initiative.
As the central figure of the fifth generation of leadership of the People’s Republic, Xi has significantly centralised institutional power by taking on a wide range of leadership positions, including chairing the newly formed National Security Commission, as well as new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring and modernization, and the internet. Xi’s political thoughts have been inscribed in the party and state constitutions, and now a cult of personality has developed around him. He has been labelled a dictator by some political observers, citing an increase of censorship and mass surveillance, deterioration in human rights, and the removal of term limits for the presidency under his tenure.
This explains Xi’s vindictive behaviour and his cloak and dagger approach. And for such a devious ruler the India requires a tough Prime Minister like Narendra Modi—full of guts and a person who takes decisions. And now you’ll be in a better position to understand my hypothesis of how childhood and early stages make or break and develop leaders of national and world importance.
Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi
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