Xi Jinping is proving himself to be heir to one of China's great reformers, Deng Xiaoping, says one of the president's former policy advisers.
Xi adheres to the line of reform pioneered by Deng rather than siding with the more traditional policies of Mao Zedong as some analysts believe, said Shi Zhihong, former deputy director of the Central Policy Research Office.
Shi said the wide-ranging blueprint for reform announced at a Communist Party plenum in November made clear that Xi was a reformer like Deng.
Xi's first official trip outside Beijing to Guangdong province in 2012 was also rich in symbolism, he said. Deng toured the same area in 1992.
Xi has also echoed Deng's earlier speeches, saying it would be a "dead end" if the country failed to reform and it should waste no more time in implementing "deeper reforms".
Xi and Deng were both practical men whose reforms were designed to tackle the social and economic problems facing the country, he said.
Shi added that the president was a steady person who was not in a rush for quick results and believed that reforms should advance gradually.
"This is a man who tends to take one small bite of the elephant at a time," he said. "He believes many small victories could add up to a big one and the accumulation of quantitative changes could generate a qualitative difference at the end."
Shi said Xi had a composed nature when handling important matters.
"He is calm in the face of stress, which is not easy.
"He was promoted step by step from the most basic village-level party secretary to the top leader of the country. [It makes him] fit to handle all challenges as if they were a walk in the park."
Shi described Xi as a charismatic leader who could connect with his people.