Xi Jinping, 59, is a bit more colorful than his predecessor Hu Jintao, though it would be hard to not be. Xi’s wife is a popular singer and their daughter studies at Harvard. His father was a vice premier in the early days of the People’s Republic, making him a “princeling”—a descendant of Communist Party elite. When his father was purged by Mao in 1962, Xi was sent to work on a farm for seven years and lived in cave homes. As party boss in southeastern Fujian province he promoted growth and economic reform. He made lasting friendships during a 1985 trip to Iowa, where he returned to last year. And he’s denounced critics of China, a clue he will push a tough foreign policy. He disappeared for two weeks this fall, apparently due to a back injury but with no public explanation. But little is known about what if any new policies Xi hopes to pursue. Despite his more interesting biography, Xi is just as much a cipher as his predecessor.
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