By Erik Crouch
Following his speeches at the Party Conference, many have noted Xi Jinping’s unaccented and clear command of Mandarin Chinese. While it may seem trivial that the leader of China speaks the official language of his country, it has added to Xi’s appeal as a slightly more down-to-earth leader.
Tea Leaf Nation explains that Xi’s use of Mandarin (also Putonghua, “common speak”) has let him connect with a younger generation:
For many younger Chinese, especially the richer and more educated cohort that comprise Web users, standard Putonghua comes easily. Xi’s relatively faultless Mandarin thus implicitly signaled an end to China’s long-standing gerontocratic rule. One young Weibot seemingly nodded as he wrote, “hmm hmm indeed indeed-[as a] “Post-90s” [Chinese person born after 1990], [let me] say I don’t feel a generational divide while listening to this.”
Hu Jintao was not particularly known for his bridging of any generational divides, and may go down in history as the Chinese leader who put all his chips on economic development and left social issues to be sorted out by those to come. The New York Times quotes He Bing of the China University of Political Science and Law saying that Xi Jinping “speaks with a human touch.”
While Xi Jinping’s voice has certainly been noted and appreciated, he still has a ways to go before challenging his singer-superstar wife Peng Liyuan:
Image Credit: The Sunday Times