Other than that he is going to be the next No. 1 in the Chinese Communist Party next year, not much is known about current China vice-president, Xi Jinping. A princeling born into Communist Party affluence before he was sent away to live in a cave during the Cultural Revolution, Xi has risen up the ranks on his penchants for business and not pissing people off. His wife, Peng Liyuan, is a nationally known singer who is widely considered to be more famous than her husband. He likes American war movies and his daughter, Xi Mengxe, attends Harvard.
And that’s pretty much what we know about Xi. By design, his leadership traits and politics remain largely a mystery. They’ll remain that way until afte he officially replaces Hu Jintao in 2013.
But Xi’s recent official trip the U.S., which marked his debut as the soon-to-be Chinese president, shed some more light on the man, including the very important news that he, like a lot of people in China, likes basketball and watches the NBA in his spare time.
Before putting the final touches on his five-day stay in the U.S., Xi took in a Lakers game at the Staples Center on Friday. Like most Laker fans, Xi arrived at the end of halftime and watched the entire third quarter and some of the fourth from a suite as the Lake Show beat the visiting Phoenix Suns 111-99.
To welcome Xi, Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, presented him with a personalized Lakers jersey. Magic Johnson and David Beckham among others came up to personally greet the man. And Lakers guard Andrew Goudelock had someone write a welcome message in Chinese to the Chinese visitor on his Peak shoes, which happen to be Chinese.
Xi’s visit to Staples, like everything else on his trip, was meticulously planned. Not that it matters — anybody who likes hoops is OK with NiuBBall. And Xi does like hoops. On his arrival in Washington on Monday, Xi told the Washington Post that “I do watch NBA games on television when I have time.”
But what makes Xi more than just OK around these parts? He originally wanted to see the Clippers, and not the Lakers, which makes this Boston born-and-bred scribe extremely pleased.
No word yet as to whether Xi actually plays. If he does, then he’ll be added alongside Wen Jiabao as part of a potentially deadly combo that could match-up nicely in a game of two-on-two against any other country’s top squad of high ranking politicians. Which means just to be safe, someone in Barack Obama’s cabinet needs to start getting some shots up.