News / Asia

Village of Rising Chinese Political Star Off Limits to Public

Stephanie Ho

Xi Jinping, the man expected to be China's next top leader, is widely known for coming from a politically privileged family.  But during the Cultural Revolution, he and thousands of other young people were sent to live in and learn in the countryside.  Xi went to Liangjiahe, a small village in Shaanxi province.  While some people are eager to talk about the Xi's time there, the local authorities are not.

Shi Yudong remembers when Xi Jinping came to stay in Liangjiahe village in the late 1960s.

"He had a pragmatic spirit," said Shi.  "He was not the kind of person who only took care of you if you were a close relative or friend.  He would treat you the same regardless of who you were."

Xi was one of hundreds of thousands of young people sent to the countryside during Mao's Cultural Revolution campaign.  He was only 15 years old at the time.

Liangjiahe's Communist party secretary, Shi Chunyang, lets us into his house, but refuses to be interviewed.

Xi returned to visit Liangjiahe once, nearly a decade ago, when he was governor of Fujian province.

Because of the geography, it is common for villagers to make their homes in caves.  We ask the party secretary if he will take us to see one of the cave dwellings where Xi lived for several years.

Shi says he does not have the key.  A few seconds later, he asks us to stop filming him.

The cave house that Xi Jinping called home for nearly half of his roughly seven years in Liangjiahe is behind a locked door.

The next door neighbor, Liang Xinrong, was 10 years old when Xi lived there.

He also refuses to be filmed, but he shows us what was on the other side of his wall - a small-scale methane pit that converts waste into energy that powers his stove.

The pit is recognized as the first of its kind in Shaanxi province.  Liang says the credit goes to Xi.

Villager Shi Yudong says he does not understand why authorities told him he cannot talk to journalists about this hometown hero.

"I feel that because he climbed up the ladder from the countryside, he knows something about corruption, so there is hope he will do something about it," Shi noted.

Our visit to Liangjiahe is cut short.  An official tells us we are not allowed to be there. He tells us we can come back to the village next year, when, he adds, there will be fewer restrictions.

Next year is when Xi is expected to begin his ascent to China's top leadership positions. By that time, officials in Liangjiahe presumably will have completed the authorized version of this chapter of Xi's life story.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid