Xi chosen as 'Person of the Year' in Russia

Xi chosen as 'Person of the Year' in Russia
Above: Chinese President Xi Jinping

President Xi Jinping was named as "Person of the Year 2014" by the Russian Biographical Institute for the "strengthening of economic and political ties with the Russia", which reflects the rising influence of China and its leader.

It is the first time the institute has given the award to a leader of a country that doesn't belong to the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The Russian Biographical Institute, founded in 1992, is a nongovernmental and noncommercial organisation based in Moscow. Its Person of the Year award acknowledges the recipients involved as being guided by the principles of social, spiritual and moral responsibility.

Besides Xi, four other national leaders have been given the award: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

In all, the institute handed out awards to 42 individuals, companies and institutions in areas including culture, science, charity, medicine and health, and national defence.

"China is a fast-developing country with growing global influence. It is natural that more and more attention is being attached to its leader and decision-maker," said Zheng Yu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he is a fan of Xi. China.com.cn released a photo on Monday of Zuckerberg with a copy of Xi's book on governance on his desk. The website quoted him as saying that he had purchased several copies of the book so he and colleagues could learn about "socialism with Chinese characteristics".

The book, Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, a collection of 79 speeches and 45 photos of the president, was released by China's Foreign Languages Press in October. So far, more than 260,000 copies have been bought by overseas distributors.

Zhong Xin, professor of Renmin University of China, said Xi's political ideas and style of language make it easier to communicate with the world.

"His language is very simple but contains a lot of information, and he doesn't mention a lot of ideological confrontation," said Zhong.

"There are a lot of overseas scholars who still believe in the China threat theory. At least, the popularity of Xi's book can help to eliminate the misunderstanding," the professor said.

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