Xi Jinping

Xi becomes 'man of mystery' as he returns home

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 March, 2012, 12:00am

While Vice-President Xi Jinping had shown his amiable and personable side during his US trip last month, the run ended as he turned more subdued at annual sessions of the national legislature.

His remarks in meetings with delegates at the annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which just ended, did not offer new insight into his persona. The message he conveyed to Hong Kong delegates even caused confusion about the city's forthcoming chief executive election.

At the start of the meeting with Hong Kong delegates to the CPPCC, Xi first shook hands with Lew Mon-hung and Vincent Lo Hong-sui - strong supporters of election candidate Leung Chun-ying - raising speculation about whether Xi was indicating support for Leung.

However, some Hong Kong delegates said they were disappointed that Xi did not give any hint on who they should vote for in the race, but rather urged them to 'stay united among brothers for the greatest strength' and seek progress while maintaining stability.

In a separate meeting, Xi urged NPC deputies from Hong Kong to put the city and nation's interests above personal ones - a remark that analysts said was a warning against smear tactics in the campaign.

Xi also kept to the official line during meetings with deputies from other regions, provinces and municipalities such as Xinjiang and Shanghai, stressing the importance of the scientific development concept and economic restructuring.

China observer Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Xi did not need to use the annual sessions to 'show off' because he was certain to become the Communist Party general secretary this autumn.

Xi, 58, is the son of a previous Communist Party leader, Xi Zhongxun . He served mostly in Fujian province early in his career, from 1985 to 2002, before moving to Zhejiang province as deputy party secretary. In 2007, he was appointed Shanghai's party chief after the dismissal of Chen Liangyu over graft charges.

Xi is known for his tough stance on corruption, but his working style and personality is not widely known. His wife, singer Peng Liyuan , was previously much better known to the public than Xi.

During his visit to the United States, Xi had shown more personality, appreciating the nation's culture, including the NBA and Hollywood movies, in casual chats with ordinary Americans. He also made a brief stop in Muscatine, Iowa, to meet his 'old friends' from a 1985 agricultural study tour.