Who can whisper in Xi Jinping’s ear? – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries

He is 1 meter and 78 centimeters tall. Or maybe 1.80. Almost always appears slightly taller in photos.

69 years. Divorced. Remarried one of China’s most famous folk opera singers. A 31 year old girl who doesn’t really like being written about or talked about by the outside world.

We know very little about Xi Jinping. We can put the pieces together and create some sort of profile, but there’s a lot we don’t know.

What is Xi laughing at?

We can’t be sure that he is a person who can laugh at himself. We don’t know what he really thinks about balloons. We don’t know about Xi Jinping, if he’s being completely honest, I think Biden would be a cooler friend than Putin.

Last year, The Economist magazine named Xi Jinping the most powerful person in the world.

Joe Biden may be the president of the most powerful nation in the world, but America’s president shares power with a few elected officials from both parties and independent courts who may think differently than the president.

Xi Jinping is the party leader One party with 95 million members, president and supreme leader 1.4 billion souls. And because China’s state-controlled media always adds to all articles about Xi – and there are plenty of them – also the head of China’s military commission.

If Xi is the most powerful person in the world? Then the question forced itself forward. Who can whisper in Xi’s ear? Who is he listening to?

A small group of older men? The wife? Girl? The young one?


While we wonder, Xi will put the finishing touches on a very ambitious power structure.

In the fall, Xi, as the first leader after Chairman Mao, earned a third term as China’s supreme leader and replaced the entire Communist Party and China’s top leadership group with loyal supporters. When you see photos from the Great Hall of the People in Beijing this week, you are seeing the end of the power play. This is the People’s Congress in Beijing. We will see China’s new prime minister. Those most interested in China will pay attention to who has been given management jobs for the most important cities. If one of them gets Xi’s ear, we could see who is in contention to be the heir.

But what about the people? Do they have Xi’s ears?

For a few days at the turn of November – December, many Chinese people ask this question. They were collectively stunned.

In Beijing, several thousand young students are exhausted after a long night on the town. They have protested.

Young people held up blank white sheets above their heads to say that their voices, and those of people’s frustration over the infection control system that no longer made sense, were not being heard.

You get a powerful feeling of being close to something vulnerable – something that can be broken – when you stand on the street in Beijing and see young people standing against something as powerful as the party and state in China.

It was about breaking out of isolation. About freedom from living in a cage. If not give up more than his youth.

And Xi turned around. Within days, China went from practicing strict zero tolerance of infection to removing all restrictions.

Who can say which one is right?

Xi attaches a lot of personal prestige to his zero-tolerance policy. It seems unlikely that he turned completely on his own.

During the fall, the mind is just toying with the question. Now I realize how fundamentally important that is. Who can talk to Xi and be heard?

Who could say something like “The virus has spread explosively.” Zero tolerance hampers the economy. Neither you nor the party benefit from the protests becoming something else.”

That person or persons may become very important for some future questions that directly determine things for many people, also back in his hometown in Norway.

Dialogue with the world. Relations with the United States. Taiwan. War in Ukraine. How will Beijing respond to the US denying China access to Western technology? What role can the pandemic-damaged Chinese economy play in rebuilding the global economy.

Who can talk to Xi and be heard? There is a small gallery of advanced people. The two politicians Li Qiang and Wang Huning. Peng Liyuan’s wife and Xi Mingze’s daughter.


Li Qiang was the one who would likely take over as prime minister. In the West, the assessment was that Li Qiang’s career consisted of giving Xi what he wanted. Nothing to listen to. In China, some business and political insiders say that Li Qiang, because he has Xi’s trust, will have great room for action.

Li Qiang has followed Xi throughout his career. Now he will correct China’s economic results at home and abroad.



Wang Huning is the most unique in China’s top seven leadership groups. The only one who didn’t build his career primarily on being loyal to Xi. Wang Huning has worked for the last three presidents and is often called Beijing’s chief ideologue. Almost all of Xi’s slogans, and Xi’s “modernization of the Chinese style” are no exception.


Thinker. Wang Huning was photographed just seconds after he was featured as China’s No.4 and party power apparatus last fall.

Photo: TINGSHU WANG / Reuters

Can this strong and somewhat “shadow player” continue to be the one determining China’s direction, overseas and at home?


Xi will walk in front of his new leadership group at the party congress in October. The seven most powerful men in China.


The one used for the stage

At home and abroad, Xi’s famous wife and folk opera singer, Peng Liyuan was a person to be reckoned with. Through her star status and years of network in China’s political scene, Peng Liyuan is undoubtedly her husband’s trusted adviser.


Peng Liyuan shot to fame when he appeared at the Grand New Year Gala on Chinese television. Several years later, she married Xi. The couple landed here before the G20 meeting in Bali.



We must be careful not to say too much about the couple’s only daughter. What we know the most about Xi Mingze is that Xi protects his daughter. Some of those who made public information about his life ended up in jail for violating China’s privacy laws. When I ask people here in Beijing who has power over Xi, many Chinese people still mention his daughter. Most often with a slightly sly smile.

Xi Mingze was educated at Harvard, and was the person in Xi’s father’s closest circle who knew the most about China’s young elite. Among these, many sympathized with the young protesters.

The smallest

Xi needs young people, needs young people in turn, needs to know what they think. China is facing a population crisis. Over the next three to six decades, the United Nations estimates that China’s population will decrease by several hundred million. Most will be old and not young enough to care for them.

There are not enough young military, scientific and economic men and women who can assert China’s interests and challenge the US and the West.

Nothing gave Xi more reason than this to listen to young people. In Xi’s new leadership, few are under more pressure than those with somewhat modest responsibilities; to make young adults want to have children.

Because everything is made in China, more children are what China needs most.


Chinese were new to a maternity ward in Anhui province in 2011. After they were born, the birth rate continued to decline.

Photo: JIANAN YU / Reuters

Georgie Burke

"Music maven. Evil pop culture lover. Unapologetic creator. Friend of animals everywhere."

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