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FT紙 習近平の略歴 by Geoff Dyer
投稿者 びぼ 日時 2010 年 10 月 25 日 08:29:34: 0cYXJ4o7/SPzg

"Man in the News: The people’s princeling"
By Geoff Dyer, The Financial Times, October 22 2010

When a journalist asked Xi Jinping in 2002 if he was likely to become the leader of China a decade later, he looked startled and nearly spilt water down his front. “Are you trying to give me a fright?” he replied.

He had better get used to the idea. Having been promoted this week to the body that runs China’s military, Mr Xi is now his country’s leader-in-waiting. In 2012, after secret meetings at a special congress, the Communist party’s leadership team will walk on to the stage of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in order of seniority – a ritual reminiscent of white smoke coming from the Vatican chimney to announce a new pope. It would now be a major surprise if Mr Xi does not walk out in first place.

His military promotion is the final stage of a longer grooming process that has prepared Mr Xi for China’s top job. After winning a place in 2007 on the standing committee, the Communist party’s most powerful body, he was made vice president in 2008. With this latest move, he has been confirmed as heir apparent to all three sources of power in China – party, state and military.

Over 6ft tall and with a manner that mixes bluntness and geniality, the bull-chested Mr Xi is the closest thing there is in China to aristocracy. His father, Xi Zhongxun, was a revolutionary hero during the civil war and later, as governor of Guangdong province in the early 1980s, was one of the masterminds of the explosive growth in Shenzhen, the southern city that pioneered early economic reforms.

But although he was born into the party elite, Mr Xi’s rise to prominence has been an anything but smooth. During his childhood his father was tortured and put under house arrest for 10 years of the Cultural Revolution. In an interview in the early 1990s, Mr Xi admitted to being locked up by Red Guards himself on several occasions.

At 16 he was sent to work in a rural agricultural commune, along with millions of other urban youths, especially those who were considered to have suspect political backgrounds. Arriving in the north-western province of Shaanxi, an area where his father had once commanded a Communist party guerrilla army, he admitted to being intensely lonely. However he survived the experience, even using his burly frame to win wrestling matches with local farmers.

In time Mr Xi managed to win back favour within the party, and was allowed to study engineering at Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University. But unlike many of his fellow “princelings”, the children of the Communist party’s founding elite, Mr Xi turned his back on court life in the capital and requested his first posting in a rural area.

In 1982 he was dispatched to part of the northern province of Hebei where early market reforms had encountered resistance. Here Mr Xi showed a knack for winning friends, pushing the creation of a local theme park based on the Chinese fable “Journey to the West”, also known as the legend of the monkey king. The park proved such a boon to the local economy that Mr Xi won the nickname “god of wealth”.

From there he moved to Fujian province on the south-east coast, where he rose to become governor and won a reputation as a pragmatic enforcer of market reforms. This impression was reinforced by stints in Zhejiang province, a private sector hub in the east, and also briefly in Shanghai. Reports that he lunched in the staff cafeteria and washed his own clothes added to a growing man-of-the people reputation.

His family connections helped his career at crucial moments but being a princeling has also been a liability. With social inequality on the rise, there is widespread resentment at the advantages enjoyed by the children of the old party elite. This can have political consequences too: in 1997 Mr Xi failed to win a party ballot for membership of the powerful central committee, possibly a sign that those voting resented his background. Luckily for him he was given a place anyway, by party bosses who already saw him as a possible future leader.

After this 25-year odyssey around the provinces, Mr Xi has worked at all levels of China’s government – village, county, city and province – and lived in both poor inland rural areas and coastal boom towns, providing the sort of hands-on experience the Communist party values. He also found the time to marry a famous wife, Peng Liyuan, a popular singer of folk songs, who heads the People’s Liberation Army song and dance troupe. Indeed, only now is he starting to become better-known than her.

Before moving back into the inner circle in Beijing, Mr Xi shunned the media, unlike some other aspiring Chinese politicians. This low profile ensured his private life, and his high-profile wife, did not obscure his political rise. His affability and talent for getting things done also made him popular with senior leaders, overcoming any jealousy over his rapid rise.

Most of all, however, it was Mr Xi’s ability to avoid making enemies that ensured his steady rise, especially given he was not President Hu’s first choice as successor. In recent years Chinese politics has been dominated by two rival groups, with the “Shanghai gang” linked to former president Jiang Zemin facing off against Mr Hu’s allies, many of whom came up through the party’s youth league. Many analysts believe Mr Xi only won out over Mr Hu’s favoured candidate because he appealed to both groups, without being closely aligned to either.

Political reform could provide one flashpoint in his path to the succession. In recent weeks there have been signs of a split in China’s leadership on the issue, after Mr Wen made a number of bold reforming statements, some of which have been censored from domestic media. Yet while Mr Xi’s father was part of a group of officials shut out after Tiananmen for being sympathetic to reform, Mr Xi has so far said little about opening up the political system.

Yet even if Mr Xi’s position looks assured, there is little precedent to go with. China has managed just one untroubled leadership succession since 1949, when Mr Hu took power from 2002. For now, Mr Xi seems on track to follow the same path. But there will be a lot of politics ahead before China’s likely leader emerges on his country’s biggest stage in two years time.


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