Thu., November 15, 2012 12:30am (EST)

Xi Jinping Secures Top Chinese Leadership Position
By Krishnadev Calamur
Updated: 1 year ago

Xi Jinping, who as a young man lived for seven years in a cave, has become China's new leader.

Here's more from China's official Xinhua news agency:

"Xi Jinping was elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee at the first plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee on Thursday morning.

Other members of the newly elected Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee are Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli."

Xi takes over the leadership of the Communist Party from Hu Jintao. The Associated Press reports that he's expected to assume the presidency in March 2013.

NPR's Louisa Lim has profiled Xi in a series of pieces. Here's what she says about his time in the cave:

"Just 15 at the time, Xi Jinping was sent by his family in Beijing to the remote rural village Liangjiahe in the hills of Shaanxi Province, hundreds of miles away, where for seven years he lived in a cave scooped out of the yellow loess hillsides.

He arrived there in 1968, after his father, a revolutionary fighter and former vice premier, had fallen from political favor."

Louisa also reported about Li's soft spot for the town of Muscatine, Iowa, which he first visited 27 years ago as a young government official.

Here's more from Louisa's story of the visit:

"'Coming here is really like coming back home,' Xi told his old Iowa friends, according to Sarah Lande, who hosted him in February and organized his earlier trip in the 1980s.

She says he told a group of 17 such friends, who'd gathered to meet him again, 'My impression of America came from you. For me, you are America.' Wow that was powerful.'

An Iowa newspaper offered Xi a full-page welcome: 'Feels like home,' read the headline, superimposed on a picture of an Iowan cornfield, with Xi's portrait."

Xi's rise to the top Chinese leadership position comes despite a year that's seen a corruption scandal that saw the downfall and subsequent ouster of populist leader Bo Xilai.


Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.