U.S Hosts China's Next-In-Line
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping concluded his four day trip to the United States with a box seat at the L.A Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns basketball game in Los Angeles, California. Earlier Jinping was on a visit to Iowa where he dropped by the Lande family who had hosted him in 1985 when he visited the state.
Apart from these light hearted diversions, Jinping's trip was all business. He brought along a delegation of Chinese businessmen to forge ties with the business community in the United States. His visit started at the White House with a meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. While the tone of the meeting was positive, the U.S leaders urged China to play fairly in international trade. China's government has been giving subsidies to local businesses that allow them to offer goods at much lower prices than it takes to manufacture in the U.S. China's currency and its track on human rights were also discussed.
On his part, Xi Jinping urged the Obama administration to look at China's rise as an economic opportunity. He was clear however that China's claim on Tibet and Taiwan need to be respected. Among deals such as increased soybean imports to China, a notable outcome was the opening up of China's market for U.S made movies. Spielberg's Dreamworks Animation will be opening up a division known as Oriental Dreamworks -- the movie house is popular in China after its Kung Fu Panda movies!
Who is Xi Jinping?
Why was Xi Jinping's trip to the U.S watched with so much interest? In 2013, he will likely take over the Communist party presidency to become the new leader of an increasingly dominant China.
Born in Beijing in 1953, Xi was a child of China's Communist party founders. When his father dropped out of favor after the cultural revolution in China and was arrested, young Xi was sent to work in the countryside. This was known as "re-education" -- an act by Mao Zedong to bridge the gap between the city and the country, between the educated and the illiterate. Xi completed his higher education in chemical engineering, before entering the Communist party in 1974.
Xi Jinping is known for his straight-talking manner and zero-tolerance policy on corruption. He helped clear up a smuggling ring in China's Fujian province in 1990, and within ten years became its governor. From there on, not much is known as information is tightly controlled by China's propaganda machine. He was put in charge of Shanghai after the city was plagued with corruption and he quickly rose through the ranks to become the party vice-president in 2008.
To many in China, Mr. Xi is known as the husband of famous singer Peng Liyuan. The two have a daughter who is studying at Harvard.