James Downey: Why Xi Jinping should get our undivided attention
Published 18/02/2012 | 05:00
UNTIL this week, few of us had ever heard of Xi Jinping. By the looks of things, we will hear a great deal more about him in the years to come.
Mr Xi is expected to take over shortly as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and to become the country's president next year. That will put him at the head of the world's second-biggest economy. He will become the second-most powerful man in the world after the president of the United States, and -- who knows -- possibly the most powerful of all by the time he leaves office.
Half a century ago, almost nobody could have envisaged such a future for the leader of a country devastated by invasion and civil war. A quarter of a century later, after Deng Xiao-ping had rescued China from the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, many feared that chaos would return after the Tiananmen Square massacre.