In a so far overlooked interview from 2000, Xi Jinping, China’s presumed next president, gives a remarkable insight to what drove him into politics and how seven years working among poor villagers changed him.
“There is a tendency to write that a leading official is so and so perfect and so and so excellent, but in reality nobody is perfect and consummate. Take a person and describe him as excellent. Nobody will believe it,” Xi Jinping, then a 47 year-old provincial governor, told Chinese journal Zhonghua Ernü, in an interview that now for the first time has been translated to a western audience by the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies (NIAS).
The interview with Xi, who is widely expected to become party chief of China’s ruling Communist Party, paints a picture of a young man, who during the Cultural Revolution was sent to the countryside to learn from the farmers, and who overcame adversity despite having a highly controversial father and being victimized by Mao’s red guards.
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