Xi at the Helm: An Itinerary

by Aiden Xia 夏克余


7–11 December: Tour of the South

Xi Jinping’s first major appearance as General Secretary of the Communist Party is during a tour of Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan and Guangzhou, following in the footsteps of reformist leader Deng Xiaoping and in the imperial Ming and Qing tradition known as a Tour of the South 南巡. Xi commits to further reform and opening up. He also visits military troops and the Internet giant Tencent’s Shenzhen headquarters.

29–30 December: Impoverished villages in Fuping county, Hebei province

Xi is photographed sitting cross-legged on a kang 炕 (traditional rural northern Chinese fire-heated bed) talking with villagers.


2–5 February: Villages and Communities in Gansu Province

Xi promises to improve living conditions in China’s less developed northwest, home to many non-Han peoples.

22–30 March: Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and Republic of Congo (Brazzaville)

Xi’s first foreign tour as president is a nine-day state visit to four countries. The choice of countries suggests Xi’s aspirations in the diplomatic sphere are to develop a counterweight to US and European influence. During the tour, Xi attends the fifth BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in Durban, South Africa. In both Russia and Africa he speaks of communities of shared destiny.

31 May–6 June: Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico

State visits to talk trade and natural resources.

7–8 June: USA

Xi visits US President Barack Obama on holiday at the Sunnylands private estate near Palm Springs, California, for two days of informal talks.

11–12 July : Xibaipo, Hebei

Xi makes a symbolic visit to a (rebuilt)former revolutionary base and popular ‘Red tourism’ site. He urges China to ensure that ‘the colour of Red China will never change’.

28 August: Aircraft Carrier, Liaoning Province

Xi visits the Liaoning, China’s only aircraft carrier, which is still undergoing testing and crew training, at its base in the northeastern province of Liaoning.

3–13 September: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and St Petersburg, Russia

Xi breaks from a tour of central Asian countries to attend the G20 summit in St Petersburg. He also attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In Astana, Kazakhstan, Xi proposes a Silk Road economic belt across central Asia.

2–8 October: Malaysia and Indonesia

Xi courts Malaysia with a huge trade pact and closer military ties. He also visits Indonesia and attends the APEC Summit in Nusa Dua, on Bali island.

28 December: Beijing, Steamed Buns

Xi queues for a simple meal of steamed buns 包子 in a branch of a low-end, state-owned Beijing restaurant chain. Photographs and video footage of the event go viral on the Chinese Internet.


6–8 February: Sochi Winter Olympics

Xi is an enthusiastic guest at the Winter Games.

25 February: Walking around Beijing hutongs in the Smog

After five days of heavy smog in Beijing, Xi is photographed walking around some of the city’s hutong alleys and talking with residents without a face-mask. State media headlines and social media promote the images under the rubric ‘breathing together, sharing one destiny’.

22 March–1 April: Netherlands, France, Germany, and Belgium

On state visits to four European countries, Xi attends the third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague and a G7 meeting on the side.

27–30 April: Xinjiang

Xi vows to ‘strike first’ against terrorism during a visit to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which he calls China’s ‘frontline of terror’. State media quotes him saying that China must ‘make terrorists become like rats scurrying across a street as everybody shouts “beat them!” ’ He visits a village and a school near Kashgar, chats with Uyghurs, inspects troops and watches military training.

20–21 May: Shanghai CICE Meeting and Russia Gas Deal

Xi meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Shanghai where they attend the Fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia  and oversee the signing of a thirty-year gas deal between China and Russia estimated to be worth US$400 billion.

3–4 July: South Korea

Xi leads a delegation to South Korea including representatives from more than one hundred Chinese companies including Baidu and Alibaba.

13–23 July: Greece, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba

En route to Brazil, Xi stops over on Rhodes Island to meet the Greek Prime Minister and discuss their countries’ deepening ties. In Brazil, Xi attends the sixth BRICS summit in Fortaleza and spends three days with Putin and other BRICS presidents.

30 July: Troops in Fujian Province

Xi visits troops stationed in Fuzhou, Fujian province, a key military location across the straits from Taiwan. Xi vows to strike hard against corruption in the military ahead of the eighty-seventh anniversary of the founding of the PLA on 1 August.

21–22 August: People’s Republic of Mongolia

During a two-day state visit to Mongolia, Xi agrees to give Mongolia access to China’s northern ports and the two countries agree to double annual bilateral trade.

12–19 September: Tajikistan, The Maldives, Sri Lanka and India

Xi attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Dushanbe, meeting Putin before the summit opens. Other countries in the group are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Xi then proceeds on a South Asian tour, with the final stop his first state visit to India.