Dec. 17 (Jamestown/By Willy Lam): Vice-President Xi Jinping’s brief visit to the western-China metropolis of Chongqing earlier this month has given important clues about the “crown prince’s” political orientations and his relations with key Chinese Communist Party (CCP) factions.
Xi’s bonding with Politburo member and Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai shows that the vice-president may be putting together his own team in the run-up to taking over the helm in less than two years’ time. Since Bo became party chief of China’s most populous city in late 2007, the flamboyant former minister of commerce has made headlines with his no-holds-barred advocacy of Maoist norms.
Xi, who is also a ranking princeling, enthusiastically applauded the Chongqing tradition of “singing red songs, studying the [Maoist] canon, telling [Mao-era] stories, and passing along [Maoist] dictums.” He indicated that they “were a good vehicle for educating the broad masses of party members and cadres about [politically correct] precepts and beliefs.”
His zealous affirmation of the Chongqing model is the most concrete indication the heir-apparent has given to date as to how he will run the country after succeeding Hu in late 2012.
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