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  • Home > News > Details
    Xi Jinping: Man of the people

    Xi Jinping accompanies his mother Qi Xin for a walk.

    Statesman aiming for a better world

    During a recent meeting with foreign experts working in China, Xi said that China, as a responsible country, will not only manage its own affairs, but also properly handle its relations with the rest of the world, so as to foster a more favorable external environment and make a greater contribution to world peace and development.

    "China needs to know more about the world, and the world also needs to know more about China," Xi said. Whether working at the local level or in the central leadership, Xi attaches great importance to international exchanges and making foreign friends. He has taken every opportunity to meet foreign guests visiting China.

    Within the past five years, he traveled to more than 40 countries and regions across five continents and has had extensive contact with people from all walks of life. He frankly and honestly introduces to foreign friends how the Chinese people view their own country and the world, and is always willing to listen to them as well. In the eyes of many foreign dignitaries, Xi is a confident, sagacious and amicable leader.

    He often tells foreign friends that the international community has increasingly become an integrated one with a common destiny. China's continuous rapid development depends on world peace and development. It also provides an opportunity and room for other countries, so together they may achieve win-win results and common development through mutual respect and pragmatic cooperation.

    At the World Peace Forum organized by Tsinghua University in July, Xi noted that a country must let others develop as it seeks its own development; must let others feel secure as it seeks its own security; must let others live better when it wants to live better itself. In a meeting with Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore, Xi said not all strong countries will seek hegemony. China will stick to the path of peaceful development, a win-win strategy of opening up and the pledge of never seeking hegemony, now or in any future generation.

    Xi's foreign visits have sent out signals that countries should work together to establish a more equal and balanced global partnership so as to safeguard the common interests of all human beings and make the world a better place.

    During his five-day visit to the United States, Xi participated in 27 events and engaged in exchange with US politicians and the public alike. "As long as the Chinese and US grasp the thread of common interests, they can explore a path of new partnership for major powers to live in harmony, engage in positive interaction and achieve win-win cooperation." His remarks elicited positive feedback from many in the U.S.

    In a recent meeting with former US president Jimmy Carter, Xi called for more "positive energy" for the China-US partnership.

    During his visit to Russia, Xi showed the strong importance China attaches to developing bilateral relations. The Sino-Russian strategic partnership of coordination has become the closest, most dynamic and most profound between major powers, and developing relations with Russia is always a priority of China's foreign relations. Xi attended the second meeting of the dialogue mechanism between the Chinese and Russian ruling parties, and had extensive and in-depth discussions with leaders of various parties in Russia, further enriching Sino-Russia relations.

    Xi highly values relations with developing countries. He has said consolidating and developing relations with developing countries is the starting point and object of China's foreign policy.

    In South Africa, Xi attended the fourth plenary session of the China-South Africa Binational Commission, looking forward, together with South Africa, to a bright future of bilateral cooperation.

    In a speech delivered at a seminar marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Xi underscored China's friendship with Africa, emphasizing that "a friend in need is a friend indeed".

    In Saudi Arabia, he said a more prosperous and open China will bring great development opportunities to the Middle East and countries in the Gulf.

    In Chile, he proposed that China and Latin America should be good partners in the fields of politics, economics, culture and international affairs, when speaking of the relationship over the next decade.

    Xi has been pragmatic and efficient on the international stage. In the course of only one day, while attending the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, Xi exchanged ideas with leaders from more than 20 countries and international organizations. During his visit to Germany and four other European countries, Xi attended five signing ceremonies for economic and trade agreements, six economic and trade forums and pushed for the signing of 93 cooperation agreements involving a total of $7.4 billion.

    Xi has also emphasized the role of cultural exchanges in building a harmonious world. When addressing the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009, he said that through exchanges between different cultures, people from different countries have come to know Confucius from China, Goethe from Germany and Shakespeare from Britain. Pushing forward world cultural exchange creates important momentum for human progress and the world's peaceful development.

    During his visit to Russia, he launched the "Year of Chinese Language" in Russia, side by side with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. He said in his address, "Culture is enriched, hearts are linked up and friendship is deepened through exchange".

    Xi is good at drawing wisdom from Chinese culture and presenting ideas clearly in a straightforward and humorous way. During his US visit, he borrowed a line from the theme song of the popular Chinese TV drama Monkey King to ease the gravity of the bilateral issue. "The road is right under our feet," he said when describing the "unprecedented" relations between China and the US, displaying the confidence and courage of Chinese leaders.

    When facing questions about China's human rights situation, he said there is "no best, only better". Xi said every country's condition is different and path is different. "Whether the shoe fits or not, only the wearer of the shoe knows."

    Amity between people is the key to sound relations between states. Xi has said the level of state-to-state friendship depends on amity between people. He has humorously said to foreign ministry officials on diplomatic trips that life lies in motion and diplomacy lies in activity. In other words, diplomats should travel widely and make friends broadly and deeply.

    During his visit to Laos, he specially arranged a meeting with children of the late Lao leader Quinim Pholsena. Xi joined several children of Pholsena, who had lived and studied in Beijing, in recalling their days at Beijing's Bayi School. He even remembered the nickname "Chubby Boy" for Pholsena's second son.

    During his US visit, Xi traveled to Iowa to join a dozen of his old acquaintances for tea and conversation at a house in an Iowa farm community. Most of the people at the gathering were friends Xi had made during a 1985 visit to Iowa as a member of an agricultural research delegation.

    In Russia, he visited a children's center that had cared for Chinese students who were affected by the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, and expressed his gratitude to the staff.

    He kicked a Gaelic football in Dublin's Croke Park when visiting Ireland and watched an NBA game in the US. The media described both activities as evidence of his amicable image.

    "He succeeded in not only demonstrating his personal manner and bearing, but also the charm of China's economic development and social progress," an overseas media outlet remarked.

    Son of revolutionary family, caring husband

    Xi Jinping's father, Xi Zhongxun, was a Party and State leader. The senior Xi served as chairman of the Shaan-Gan Border Region, a CPC revolutionary base of the 1930s, and was called by Mao Zedong a "leader of the people".

    Xi Zhongxun had suffered political persecution for 16 years beginning in 1962. However, he never gave in to adversity and ultimately helped clear the names of other people who were persecuted. After the end of the "cultural revolution", he served as Party chief in Guangdong, the forefront of China's reform and opening-up drive, making important contributions to the establishment of special economic zones in the province and their rapid development.

    Xi's mother Qi Xin, who is nearly 90 years old, is also a veteran cadre and Party member. As a filial son, Xi takes walks and chats with his mother, holding her hand, after he finds time to dine with her.

    The Xi family has a tradition of being strict with children and living a simple life. Xi Zhongxun believed if a senior Party official wanted to discipline others, he should begin first with himself and his family. Xi Jinping and his younger brother used to wear clothes and shoes handed down from their older sisters. After Xi Jinping became a leading official, his mother called a family meeting to ban the siblings from engaging in business where Xi Jinping worked.

    Xi Jinping has carried on his family's tradition and has been strict with family members. Wherever he worked, he told the family members not to do business there or do anything in his name, or else he "would be ruthless". Whether in Fujian, Zhejiang or Shanghai, he pledged at official meetings that no one was allowed to seek personal benefit using his name and welcomed supervision in this regard.

    Xi married Peng Liyuan, a renowned and well-liked soprano and opera singer. In 1980, Peng, on behalf of the Shandong provincial delegation, caused quite a stir while attending a national art performance in Beijing.

    She was the first in China to obtain a master's degree in national vocal music. She is a representative figure of national vocal music and one of the founders of the school of national vocal music.

    Her most famous works include On the Plains of Hope, People from Our Village, and We Are Yellow River and Taishan Mountain.

    She was the winner of many top awards at national vocal music contests. She played the leading roles in the Chinese national operas The White-Haired Girl and Mulan, among others. She also won the highest theatrical award in China, the Plum Blossom Prize, and the highest performance art award, the Wenhua Prize.

    Peng has attributed her accomplishments to the people and said she should contribute all her talent to the people. Over the past 30-plus years, she has given hundreds of free performances for people from all walks of life across the country as an expression of gratitude or appreciation. These included performances in impoverished mountain areas, coastal areas, oilfields, mines and barracks, as well as in deserts and the snowy plateau. She also performed in Wenchuan after the devastating earthquake in 2008, in Beijing's Xiaotangshan after the SARS outbreak and in flood-hit Jiujiang in Jiangxi province.

    To better introduce Chinese national vocal music and national opera to the world, Peng took the lead to perform a solo concert in Singapore in 1993. She has also performed in more than 50 countries and regions representing China, becoming a world-famous cultural ambassador for China.

    She produced and played the leading role in the opera Mulan, which was performed at New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and at the Vienna State Opera House in Austria.

    Peng is currently shifting her focus from performance to education, aiming to nurture more talented people and produce more masterpieces.

    Peng is very much committed to charitable work. She is a WHO goodwill ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, a national AIDS prevention advocate and an ambassador for the prevention of juvenile delinquency and for tobacco control. At a recent World AIDS Day activity to raise awareness about AIDS, she was called "Mama Peng" by AIDS orphans.

    Xi and Peng fell in love at first sight in 1986 and got married the same year. Although they were often separated due to work, they have understood and supported each other and continuously shown concern for each other.

    As a member of the People's Liberation Army, Peng was often tasked with staging performances in remote areas. These tours sometimes kept her on the road for two to three months at a time. Being concerned about his wife, Xi would phone her before bedtime almost every night, no matter how late it was.

    On Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve, Peng would often perform in the Spring Festival Gala presented by the China Central Television. Xi would make dumplings while watching the show and wait for her return to begin cooking the family feast.

    In the eyes of Peng, Xi is a good husband and father. She always shows care and consideration for him. Peng takes every opportunity to get together with her husband, cooking for him dishes of different styles.

    In Peng's eyes, Xi is both different from anybody else and also an average person. He favors homemade cooking in the Shaanxi and Shandong cuisines, and also drinks a bit during parties with friends. He likes swimming, mountaineering and watching basketball, football and boxing matches. Sometimes he stays up late to watch televised sports games.

    The couple has a daughter, Xi Mingze. Mingze in Chinese implies "living an honest life and being a useful person to society", which is their expectation for her and also a symbol of their family's simple style.

    (China Daily 12/25/2012 page5)

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