Xi Jinping hits the ground running, telegraphs hawkish policy stances

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By Willy Lam,

Less than one month after becoming general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the country’s commander-in-chief,Xi Jinping has displayed a flair for catchy slogans — and superior public-relations skills. The new chairman of the policy-setting Central Military Commission has also demonstrated a readiness to project China’s hard power in the Asia-Pacific arena.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, inspects PLA units in Guangdong province on Dec. 10. / Xinhua

The 59-year-old princeling (a reference to the kin of Party elders) chose Guangdong — where late patriarch Deng Xiaoping began his reform and open-door policy more than three decades ago — as the destination of his first inspection trip outside the capital.

“There will be no stop in reform, no slackening in the open-door policy,” said Xi, who ended his five-day trip on Dec. 11.

He told local cadres, including retired senior cadres who had worked for Deng in the 1980s and 1990s, that “the policy of reform and opening up is correct.”

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