China / Government

Profile: Xi Jinping: Man of the people, statesman of vision

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-24 10:11

Profile: Xi Jinping: Man of the people, statesman of vision

File photo shows Xi Jinping (R, rear) with his father Xi Zhongxun (R, front), his wife (L, front) and his daughter (C, front). (Xinhua)

Son of revolutionary family, caring husband

Xi Jinping's father Xi Zhongxun was a Party and state leader. The senior Xi served as chairman of the Shaan-Gan Border Region, a CPC revolutionary base of the 1930s, and was called by Mao Zedong a "leader of the people."

Xi Zhongxun had suffered political persecution for 16 years beginning in 1962. However, he never gave in to adversity and ultimately helped clear the names of other people who were persecuted. After the end of the Cultural Revolution, he served as Party chief in Guangdong, the forefront of China's reform and opening-up drive, making important contributions to the establishment of special economic zones in the province and their rapid development.

Xi's mother Qi Xin, nearly 90 years of age, is also a veteran cadre and Party member. As a filial son, Xi takes walks and chats with his mother, holding her hand during the process, after he finds time to dine with her.

The Xi family has a tradition of being strict with children and living a simple life. Xi Zhongxun believed if a senior Party official wanted to discipline others, he should begin first with himself and his family. Xi Jinping and his younger brother used to wear clothes and shoes handed down from their elder sisters. After Xi Jinping became a leading official, his mother called a family meeting to ban the siblings from engaging in business where Xi Jinping worked.

Xi Jinping has carried on his family's tradition and has been strict with family members. Wherever he worked, he told the family members not to do business there or do anything in his name, or else he "would be ruthless." Whether in Fujian, Zhejiang or Shanghai, he pledged at official meetings that no one was allowed to seek personal benefit using his name and welcomed supervision in this regard.

Xi married Peng Liyuan, a renowned and well-liked soprano and opera singer. In 1980, Peng, on the behalf of the Shandong provincial delegation, caused quite a stir while attending a national art performance in Beijing.

She was the first in China to obtain a master's degree in national vocal music. She is a representative figure of national vocal music and one of the founders of the school of national vocal music.

Her most famous works include On the Plains of Hope, People from Our Village, and We Are Yellow River and Taishan Mountain.

She was the winner of many top awards at national vocal music contests. She played the leading roles in the Chinese national operas The White-haired Girl and Mulan, among others. She also won the highest theatrical award in China, or the Plum Blossom Prize, and the highest performance art award, the Wenhua Prize.

Peng has attributed her accomplishments to the people and said she should contribute all her talent to the people. Over the past 30-plus years, she has given hundreds of free performances for people from all different walks of life across the country as an expression of gratitude or appreciation. These included performances in impoverished mountain areas, coastal areas, oil fields, mines and barracks, as well as in deserts and the snowy plateau. She also performed in Wenchuan after the devastating earthquake of 2008, in Beijing's Xiaotangshan after the SARS outbreak and in flood-hit Jiujiang in Jiangxi province.

To better introduce Chinese national vocal music and national opera to the world, Peng took the lead to play a solo concert in Singapore in 1993. She has also performed in more than 50 countries and regions representing China, becoming a world-famous Cultural Ambassador for China.

She produced and played the leading role in the opera Mulan, which was performed at New York City's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and at the Vienna State Opera House in Austria.

Peng is currently shifting her focus from performance to education, aiming to nurture more talented people and produce more masterpieces.

Peng is very much committed to charity work. She is a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, a national AIDS prevention advocate, and an ambassador for the prevention of juvenile delinquency and for tobacco control. At a recent World AIDS Day activity raising awareness about AIDS, she was called "Mama Peng" by AIDS orphans.

Xi and Peng fell in love at first sight in 1986 and got married the same year. Although they were often separated due to work, they have understood and supported each other and continuously shown concern for each other.

As a member of the People's Liberation Army, Peng was often tasked with staging performances in remote areas. These tours sometimes kept her on the road for two to three months at a time. Being concerned about his wife, Xi would phone her before bedtime almost every night, no matter how late it was.

On Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve, Peng would often perform in the Spring Festival Gala presented by the China Central Television. Xi would make dumplings while watching the show and would wait for her return to begin cooking the family feast.

In the eyes of Peng, Xi is a good husband and a good father. She always shows care and consideration for him. Peng takes every opportunity to get together with her husband, cooking for him dishes of different styles.

In Peng's eyes, Xi is both different from anybody else and also an average person. He favors home-made cooking in the Shaanxi and Shandong cuisines, and also drinks a bit during parties with friends. He likes swimming, mountaineering, and watching basketball, football and boxing matches. Sometimes he stays up late to watch televised sports games.

The couple have a daughter, Xi Mingze. Mingze in Chinese implies "living an honest life and being a useful person to society," which is their expectation for her and also a symbol of their family's simple style.

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