In China, Hu’s Successor Is Being Quietly Groomed

The New York Times profiles Vice Premier and Hu Jintao’s designated successor Xi Jinping:

…An extended look at Mr. Xi’s past shows that his rise has been built on a combination of political acumen, family connections and ideological dexterity. Like the country he will run, he has nimbly maintained the primacy of the Communist Party, while making economic growth the party’s main business.

There is little in his record to suggest that he intends to steer China in a sharply different direction. But some political observers also say that he may have broader support within the party than Mr. Hu, which could give him more leeway to experiment with new ideas. At the same time, there is uncertainty about how he may wield authority in a system where power has grown increasingly diffuse. Mr. Xi also has deeper military ties than his two predecessors, Mr. Hu and Jiang Zemin, had when they took the helm.

For much of his career, Mr. Xi, 57, presided over booming areas on the east coast that have been at the forefront of China’s experimentation with market authoritarianism: attracting foreign investment, helping put party cells in private companies and expanding government support for model entrepreneurs — the kind of political and economic experience that Mr. Hu lacked when he ascended to the top leadership position.

He is less of a dour mandarin than Mr. Hu is. The tall, stocky Mr. Xi is a princeling — an aristocratic descendant of revolutionary party elites — and his second marriage is to a celebrity army folk singer, Peng Liyuan.

January 23, 2011 5:14 PM
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Categories: Politics