“The purpose of Mr. Xi's image-making [US trip ] – helped along by some credulous Western reporting – is to present him as someone who took his knocks in life and understands what it's like to be dirt poor even as he has risen up the party hierarchy.
This, comrades, is baloney.
Thanks to a WikiLeaked State Department cable from 2009, we know more about Mr. Xi than he would probably be willing to volunteer. Among other interesting details: Mr. Xi ‘chose to survive [the Cultural Revolution] by becoming redder than red’; his first degree ‘was not a 'real' university education but instead a three-year degree in applied Marxism’; he was ‘considered of only average intelligence’; and ‘the most permanent influences shaping [his] worldview were his princeling pedigree,’ not his sojourn in the countryside.
[C]hange will ‘occur where you least expect it.’ Most Chinese today already get their news from Weibo (Chinese Twitter), eroding party control over the flow of information. American Idol-type singing contests are engendering a taste for democracy. And multiplying acts of cultural subversion are gradually making it impossible for the party to impose its categories of thought, even if it can still impose proscriptions on action.
How will Mr. Xi handle this new China? It's too soon to say. But no Chinese leader will be able to depend on the controls their predecessors enjoyed – technology simply won't allow it, and neither will evolving public expectations about what is permitted.”