Younger brother of President Xi Jinping speaks on their father's achievements
President Xi Jinping's younger brother, Xi Yuanping, has been making rare high-profile appearances at commemorative activities ahead of the centennial of their father's birth on Tuesday.
Xi Zhongxun was a leading mainland political figure whose revolutionary pedigree can be traced to the 1930s when he helped establish communist guerilla bases in the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu .
As with many revolutionary leaders, Xi Zhongxun fell in and out of favour with the party, depending on which faction was in the ascendency. In 1962, internal party struggles saw him purged from all positions and he was not rehabilitated until 1978.
That year he moved to Guangdong where he helped establish his crowning achievement: the special economic zones including Shenzhen. He died in 2002.
In a China Youth Daily article yesterday, Xi Yuanping recalled his father's influence on him, and his bravery in spearheading economic reform in Guangdong. He also wrote about how his older brother was cared for by their aunt, and was implicated in his father's problems and placed under investigation too. He went on to describe the Spartan living conditions Xi Jinping endured in 1975 as the party head of remote Liangjiahe village in Shaanxi.
Yesterday's article was the second penned by Xi Yuanping to honour his father. In 2009, he published an article for the Xinmin Evening Daily in Shanghai that barely mentioned Xi Jinping, who was then vice-president.
Xi Yuanping attended a memorial function on Wednesday in Gansu. The event was chaired by the provincial governor, Liu Weiping , and attended by top officials from the central government and army.
Similar private and official commemorative activities have been held in Beijing, Guangdong and Shaanxi in recent months.
About 200 generals, senior officials and artists attended an exhibition of paintings and calligraphy to commemorate Xi senior in Guangzhou last month. The China Post will issue two special stamps on Tuesday.
Zhang Liping, a political affairs analyst in Beijing, said the provincial governments attached importance to commemorating Xi Zhongxun possibly due to Xi Jinping's prominent positions.
"Xi Yuanping seems to have taken on the family responsibility of speaking publicly about their father's achievements," Zhang said. "The commemorations will also help shore up Xi Jinping's authority. Many may also hope that President Xi will adhere to the reformist mindset of his father."