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A sneak peek at China's new president

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 9th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The world is taking a close look at the man who is rumored to be the heir apparent to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. The country's Vice-President, Xi Jinping, is widely regarded as a cautious reformer, but all bets will be off when he assumes power.

HONG KONG, CHINA (Catholic Online) - Xi will officially assume power next year, and begin the first of two five-year terms as head of state. The 59 year-old Xi has long been regarded as a cautious reformer who is an excellent communicator.

In fairness, Xi will be handed a blank slate when he assumes office and may choose any path forward he thinks is best. His past may not have bearing on his choices. In other words, he could break from his previous ways of management to lead the country is a different direction.

However, the world cannot be blamed for trying to predict a man who is generally well-regarded in the world community. Xi has traveled several times to the West including visits to the United States and Mexico.

Xi comes from an elite family, but he has also known humility. Xi's father served with Mao Zedong during the revolution, and although his father rose to high office, he was later purged. At the age of 16, he was sent to work in the countryside as part of a government program to expose children of the elite to the reality of life in the country.

Instead of railing against this, Xi took to the Communist Party and became well regarded within its ranks. He rose quickly and traveled to the U.S. as a young man to study agricultural practices there. He has earned a degree in Marxist theory and held several provincial posts.

Later he served as the governor of Tibet, where he exercised hard-line rule, a demeanor that changed when he served later as a member of the party's Standing Committee and recently as Vice President.

How Xi will lead China remains open to speculation, but his rise to power should be no surprise. The heir apparent will take control of the country in March.

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