News / Asia

Three Questions: China's Political Succession

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping applauds during a welcome reception hosted by Japan China friendship groups in Tokyo (FILE).
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping applauds during a welcome reception hosted by Japan China friendship groups in Tokyo (FILE).

 

China signaled a new era in leadership this week when it announced that Vice President Xi Jinping has been appointed to the Central Military Commission, which controls the country's two-million-strong army. Xi is taking the post President Hu Jintao held before he became China's leader. Observers say the announcement made after the Communist Party's annual meeting signals that Xi is being groomed to replace Mr. Hu when he resigns as party chief in 2012, and president in 2013.

VOA spoke with Zheng Wang, a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and professor at New Jersey's Seton Hall University, about the continuing elevation of Xi Jinping.

Could you describe Mr. Xi's background?

His father was China's vice premier and also the head of the propaganda department in the 1950's and early 1960's, but later on was sent to prison during the Cultural Revolution. So actually, Xi Jinping has had a very unusual experience in the 1960's, especially during the Cultural Revolution.  And he was sent to the countryside, joining the millions of radicals. He went to the countryside for the reeducation as a result of Chairman Mao's Down to the Countryside Movement. And he stayed in the countryside from 1969 until 1975, before he went to Tsinghua University.

So, many China observers believe that his early experience in China's countryside helped him to know China's grassroots, and his family experience, his personal experience as a victim of the Cultural Revolution, and some people believe he should understand better than many people about the importance of individual freedom and social justice.

Why is his appointment to the military commission significant?

First, the military commission is the party's actual power center. So, the former leaders Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, they both acted as the chairman of this commission even when they were no longer the state leader or the party leader, but they were the actual leader of China.  And I think this appointment signified that Xi has formally become China's leader in waiting.

The leadership selection process in China is basically still a black book operation. So I think nobody can really talk about why somebody has been chosen.  But I think that there's a couple of reasons Xi became this person. First reason: I think we have to go back to his family, and his family influence. You know, after the Cultural Revolution, his father came back to the political center and also even after he retired, he still remained as a very influential political elder in the party, and Xi started his political career at this time after his father came back. So, Xi Jinping received a quick promotion and emerged in the party quickly.

I think he's young, he's stable and he's always being careful not to touch any controversy issue and always try to avoid to reveal his real political will. And it also may be because he's not really has a strong personal color, or keeping a low profile, is somehow very important in China's power leadership.

His wife is a well known singer in China.  Tell us about her.

Yeah, it's very interesting, actually. His wife, Peng Liyuan, is actually one of the most famous popular singers in China. So very often, he was kind of referred to as the husband of his wife, and the son of his father, rather than as himself. And his wife is very popular in China and very famous, and also for that reason, people think that maybe his wife will give influence on him and help him to know more about especially culture, about the popular life in China.

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid