What Xi learned from his father

BEIJING - Half a century after Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution, Xi Jinping is vigorously pursuing a minirevolution of his own, though one that lacks mass executions.

The Chinese president is cracking down on corruption -- but in a way that shows he has considered the lessons of the dark days from 1966 to 1976.

What drives Xi?

"The tumultuous life of his late father, Xi Zhongxun," said one person familiar with the Xi family. "The elder Xi is a person whom the younger Xi admires but at the same time a person who serves as an example of how politicians should keep their cards close to the vest."

The elder Xi was known to consider different views. Early on, he was purged for his liberal attitude and spent much of the Cultural Revolution jailed or otherwise confined in Beijing. Only after the Cultural Revolution was the elder Xi "rehabilitated," at the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party, in December 1978. He very quickly became governor of Guangdong Province, where he made a name for himself by convincing Deng Xiaoping to allow him to liberalize the local economy.

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