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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid