Man of the People
On November 15, 2012, Xi Jinping was elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee at the first plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, becoming China’s top political leader. Meanwhile, as the top leader of the world’s second-largest economy, Xi stands at the forefront of the global stage.
From the Loess Plateau in northern Shaanxi to the southeastern coast, from localities to central leadership, Xi’s career can be characterized by well-rounded political experience and development of a deep understanding of the conditions of his country and people as well as the opportunities and challenges China faces. Over the past five years, guided by Xi’s theories on state governance, the Chinese people have made major strides on the road to realizing the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and China has never before been so close to front and center on the world stage.
Xi’s political career began in the humblest of circumstances, and he worked his fingers to the bone in farming communities for years, which played a major role in the formation of his thoughts on state governance and evidenced how Chinese leaders integrate their personal ideals with the fate of the nation.
Unlike many Western countries, the path to the top leadership in China is a many-step progressive process. Chinese leaders must scale two major political “steps” before joining the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, China’s top leadership group. One is serving as secretary of a provincial Party committee, which helps one accumulate experience in administrating a local government. The other is serving as a key assistant to any member of China’s top leadership, because such experience is intended to help one understand how the central leadership makes decisions.
Xi’s political path is just one example. In 1974, he began his political career as secretary of the Party branch of a rural village. Eventually, he became administrator of a county and then a city. Then, Xi consecutively served as acting governor of Fujian Province, Party chief of Zhejiang Province, and Party chief of Shanghai Municipality. He also acted as vice president of China before he became general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, chairman of the Central Military Commission, and president of China. The entire process took more than 40 years.
Although such a “step-by-step” progressive path can take a long time to walk, every rung on the ladder is like a brick in the foundation for future administrative work.
Xi once summed up the mission of the new central collective leadership across three responsibilities: to the nation, the people and the Party. Xi’s solemn commitment foreshadows his historical responsibility to the Chinese nation and his faith in the continued improvement of Chinese governance.