What is known about Xi’s background suggests that he is unlikely to be a bold or commanding leader in the mold of Mao, Deng or even the gregarious Jiang Zemin, who used to surprise his Western hosts by singing popular show tunes.
Rather, for reasons rooted in biography as well as politics, Xi is more likely to prove cautious and bureaucratic, presiding over a collective leadership with a style more like that of the current president, Hu Jintao, according to academics, party officials and others who study the party’s inner works.
“I think he has learned how to survive,” said Zhang Lifan, a historian who has studied the Communist Party and whose father was a friend and ally of Xi’s father. “In his childhood, Xi Jinping suffered a lot. All of this experience greatly affected him.”