Jinping’s persona forged by cave-dwelling childhood
Xi Jinping’s seven years in the remote northern community of Liangjiahe meant toiling alongside villagers by day and sleeping on bricks by night, in stark contrast to his pampered early years in Beijing. He was born into the communist elite, but after his father fell out of favour with Mao Zedong — and before his later rehabilitation — the Xi was sent to a rural hinterland at age 15 to learn peasant virtues.
“Knives are sharpened on the stone. People are refined through hardship,” Xi said in a rare 2001 interview. “Whenever I later encountered trouble, I’d just think of how hard it had been to get things done back then and nothing would then seem difficult.”
The Liangjiahe years are among the scant details known about Xi’s life and personality partly because he himself chronicled them as a formative experience. They are part of the vague picture of a man who has drawn little attention during much of his political career.
What is clear is that Xi has excelled at quietly rising through the ranks by making the most of two facets: He has an elite, educated background with links to communist China’s founding fathers that are a crucial advantage in the country’s politics, and at the same time he has successfully cultivated a common-man mystique that helps him appeal to a broad constituency. He even gave up a promising Beijing post in his late 20s to return to the
Be the first to comment.