During the course of the hour-long conversation, I asked the students who will be the next president of China. I knew that Hu Jintao is in his last term and will be replaced in the next few years. Specifically, I was interested whether the next in line has been named or is clear.
I was told that the next president of China will be Xi Jinping.
Xi's biography, from Wikipedia, can be found here.
Here are some tidbits about the man:
- Although born in Beijing, Xi's ancestral home is in Fuping County, Shaanxi Province. The students I talked with said that his ties to Shaanxi (Xi'an's province) would surely benefit Shaanxi and Xi'an when he takes power.One of the more interesting things my students told me was that they didn't know when Xi would take over and, current paramount leader, Hu would step down. My students told me that in China it will just happen one day with little advanced notice.
- His father was purged during the Cultural Revolution, was sent to work at a factory, and eventually jailed.
- Xi was in charge of coordinating the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
- In 1987, Xi married the famous Chinese folk singer, Peng Liyuan.
His wife is widely considered more famous than her husband, one of the most powerful politicians in China. 2008 was one of the first years since its inception that she didn't performed at the CCTV New Year's Gala, which is viewed by an estimated (and unfathomable) 700 million people every year.
- US Treasury Secretary is a big fan of Xi. He said of him, "(Xi is) the kind of guy who knows how to get things over the goal line." I'm not sure if Paulson's endoresement means much to American people after the past couple months of bailouts.
I should note that the students in my class were very enthusiastic about him. It may very well be that Xi'an and Shaanxi Province would stand to benefit from Xi being the Paramount Leader.