Sunday, February 5, 2012

Who is Xi: China's next leader

Beijing (CNN) -- Anyone interested in world affairs, Chinese diplomacy and China's future should know more about Xi Jinping.

Xi (pronounced "shee"), China's vice president, will be visiting the United States this month for meetings at the White House in Washington and will travel to other cities.

"The visit is important to boost his stature at home -- here is the man the U.S. takes seriously, and he can deal with them on our behalf," says Anthony Saich, a China expert at the Harvard Kennedy School. "For the U.S., it provides an opportunity to introduce him to key U.S. politicians and the American public. The same approach was taken with Hu Jintao before he took over."

Xi, 58, is in line to be China's next paramount leader. He is expected to succeed Hu when his second term ends in autumn this year and could rule China for 10 years.

But who is Xi? Some key information about him:

• He comes from a clique known as "princelings," sons and daughters of revolutionary veterans. His father, Xi Zhongxun, was a revolutionary hero who was banished during the Cultural Revolution.

• When his father was in limbo, Xi spent time as a teenager doing manual labor in China's countryside and went on to become a local party chief. Read More