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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Xi treading in footsteps of legendary Mao and Deng

China's leader-in-waiting missing for 11 days



The most powerful man in the world, a giant who is slated to become the Chinese leader for the next decade, has not been seen in public since September 1st, and has missed several key meetings, including one that was scheduled with Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State of the USA. While initial speculation focused on potential medical problems including a bad back, a car accident, a heart attack, a stroke or other physical ailments, over the past couple of days historical precedents have been discussed as possible motive for the seclusion.


Chairman Mao and Deng Xiaoping each took a breather

After suppressing student protests in 1986, Deng left the public eye for three months, and after the Tiananmen Square tragedy, he spent 24 days in seclusion. Likely even more significant is the example of Mao Zedong, who journeyed to his hometown for two months before returning to Beijing to launch the Cultural Revolution. Xi comes from the rightwing side, and with the left feeling vulnerable in the wake of Bo Xilai's significant troubles, paying homage to Mao should pay clear and present dividends to the new President.


Historical leader Sun spent time in exile

Sun Yat-sen, China's leader in the early 20th Century, spent many years in political exile before returning to unite the nation and create the foundations for the modern China we know of today. Sun spent time in Japan, Europe, Canada and the USA, leveraging the overseas Heaven and Earth Society for funding and connections and then in 1905 joined forces with Chinese students in Tokyo to plan the revolution in earnest. 



By 1911, Huang Xing and his revolutionary forces were able to overthrow the Qing dynasty, and in October Huang led the forces that ended more than 2,000 years of imperial rule in China. Sun immediately returned to his homeland, and in December was elected "prvisional president" by delegates from the provinces.

Returning to 2012 and the pending leadership change, the world will soon bear witness to Xi and Li running the show; there'll be a new sheriff in town and some things are going to change. Whether Xi's absence has resulted from a personal injury or from a desire to emulate the great leaders of Chinese history, his departure from the scene already has China and the human universe missing him. If and when he returns to the stage as a healthy and vibrant man at the helm of the planet's rising star, everyone will breathe a sigh of relief, and respect the magnitude of the task at hand.








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