做有志气有作为的一代——习仲勋之子习近平访谈录
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To be an Ambitious Generation——An Interview with Xi Jinping, son of Xi Zhongxun

做有志气有作为的一代——习仲勋之子习近平访谈录

In this 1997 article published in an education-focused journal, Xi Jinping proudly recounts the adverse conditions and “grassroots” experiences of his early life despite being the son of a high-ranking Party cadre, and argues that his peers should not “have a sense of superiority” but rather be self-reliant.


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Editor’s note

编者按 

Xi Jinping, the son of Xi Zhongxun, is currently a member of the Standing Committee of the CCP Fujian Provincial Committee and Secretary of the Fuzhou Municipal Committee. This article is an interview written by Meng Xiangfeng, a reporter from China Discipline Inspection and Supervision News, after interviewing Xi Jinping. It was published in the newspaper on April 19, 1996. This journal excerpts the content related to family education and talent, in order to inspire readers.

习近平乃习仲勋之子,现任中共福建省委常委,福州市委书记。本文是《中国纪检监察报》记者孟翔风采访习近平之后写的一篇访谈录,曾于1996年4月19日发表在该报上。本刊摘发其中涉及家教与成才的内容,以期对读者有所启迪。

Xi Jinping is the sixth oldest in his family and has a daughter with his wife Peng Liyuan. When talking about the education and influence of the revolutionary seniors on him, he said that every step of his growth has been inseparable from the teachings and subtle influences of the revolutionary seniors. The biggest influence is that the revolutionary seniors have taught us to be a generation with ambition and a generation with achievements.

习近平在家排行老六,与夫人彭丽媛育有一个千金。他在谈到革命老前辈对他的教育和影响时说,我的每一步成长都离不开革命老前辈的教诲和潜移默化的影响。最大的影响,是革命老前辈教诲我们做有志气的一代,做有作为的一代。

Xi Jinping said that the elder revolutionary predecessors have often reminded us to not act as the lost generation that only depends on their predecessors.

习近平说,革命老前辈常提醒我们决不做垮掉的一代;不能沦为八旗子弟,背靠先辈的余荫过日子,甚至背靠余荫胡作非为。

Our seniors have urged us to live a hard and simple life and to act as ordinary persons “with our tails tucked in.” In the imagination of ordinary people, a family like ours may dine on delicious foods all day long, but in fact, my family eats home-cooked meals. Our parents asked us not to have any leftover rice in our bowls and to pick up the rice that fell on the table and eat it. When I was a child, I often wore clothes with patches, old floral clothes, and shoes that my sister could no longer wear and dyed them black.

前辈千叮咛万嘱咐我们要过艰苦朴素的生活,“夹着尾巴”做一名普普通通的人。在一般人的想象里,我们这种家庭可能终日锦衣美食,其实我家吃的都是家常饭。父母要求我们碗里不能有剩饭粒,掉在桌上的饭也要捡起来吃。小时候,我经常穿带补丁的衣服,姐姐不能穿的旧花衣服、花鞋染黑给我穿。

If we want to be effective, we must first be a person with knowledge and substance. My parents were very strict with my studies. In addition, our parents also forced us out of the “greenhouse” to accept social tempering. During the Cultural Revolution, I went to live and work in a production team in rural northern Shaanxi, and my life was very hard. Once I visited my father in prison and complained about the hardships. I thought I would gain his sympathy. Unexpectedly, my father said that it was a good thing to live and work in a production team. He told that even though he was locked up, he did not want me rushing to come to see him when he was released. Instead, he insisted that I join the masses at the grassroots level!

我们要成为一个有作为的人,就要首先做一个有学问、有内涵的人。父母对我的学习抓得很紧。此外,父辈还让我们走出“温室”,接受社会磨炼。“文革”的时候,我在陕北农村插队,生活很苦,有一次到监狱里探望父亲,诉了一通苦,满以为会得到同情,没想到父亲却说,插队是好事,别看我关在这里,等我出来,我也不主张你很快回来,要在基层与群众打成一片!

In fact, I suffered more than the average person. During the Cultural Revolution, I went to prison four times. I was a “reactionary student,” and I was publicly shamed more than a dozen times. I was starved, and I was made a “beggar.” When I was 15 years old, I went to northern Shaanxi with “black materials” on my back, and I worked for seven years. Then, I grew from a “black five-category,” “mongrel,” and “reactionary student” to a League member and Party member, becoming the first secretary of the Party branch among the more than 27,000 Beijing-educated youths. In the rural areas of northern Shaanxi, I was a farmer and learned a full set of farm skills. I was one of the best laborers in the village. This experience has cultivated my will and self-confidence and made me feel that there is nothing in the world that is truly unbearable and that I can survive in the face of adversity. Now the conditions are much better than in the past, how can we not do well?

其实我比一般人吃的苦还多。“文革”中,我4次蹲监狱,当过“反动学生”,大小会被批过十几场;挨过饿,当过“叫花子”,关在监狱里身上长满虱子。我15岁就背着“黑材料”到陕北插队,一干就是7年;然后由一个“黑五类”、“狗崽子”、“反动学生”变成了一名团员、党员,成为陕西27000多名北京知青中第一个村党支部书记。在陕北农村,我当农民,学会了全套农活,是村里最好的劳动力之一。这段经历,培养了我的意志和自信,使我感受到人世间没有受不了的罪,认为自己在逆境中能干出来、活下来。现在条件比过去好多了,我们怎么能干不好呢?

During that period of adversity, I also had the greatest opportunity to get to know the people at the grassroots level, forged a deep friendship with them, understood the joys, sorrows, and triumphs of the common people, and understood what reality is. I am doing my work now to oppose pretentiousness because I know that the common people are most disgusted with formalism.

那段逆境生活,还使我有最大机会了解最基层群众,与他们结下了深厚的情谊,懂得了老百姓的喜怒哀乐,懂得了什么是实际。我现在做工作反对搞花架子,就是因为我知道老百姓最反感形式主义。

When it comes to being the child of a cadre, especially what should be paid attention to after entering politics, Xi Jinping said well:

谈到作为干部子女,尤其在从政后最应注意什么时,习近平出语不俗:

First of all, I have to correct a concept. The children of cadres are not a class, but a model. Each has his or her own experiences, pursuits, and methods and moves through various trends. The current public opinion is biased toward the evaluation of the children of cadres. One saying is: “The dragon gives birth to the dragon, and the phoenix gives birth to the phoenix.” I think there is an old saying that goes well: “The dragon gives birth to nine sons, each of which is different.” It’s not like “a dragon gives birth to a dragon, a phoenix gives birth to a phoenix, and the son of a mouse burrows into the ground.” The key to who the children of cadres will become in the future depends on their acquired efforts and pursuits.

我首先要纠正一个概念,干部子弟不是一个阶层,一个模式,各有其经历、追求和干法,也随各种潮流而动。对干部子弟的评价,现在的舆论有偏向,一种说法是:“龙生龙,凤生凤”;另一种说法是“纨绔子弟,一塌糊涂”。我认为,有句古话说得好:“龙生九子,各有不同”。不是什么“龙生龙,凤生凤,老鼠的儿子打地洞”。干部子弟将来要成为什么人,关键要靠自己后天的努力和追求。

As a son of a senior cadre, I think the most important thing is not to take the old roots of the father’s generation, but to rely on one’s own ability and not to have a sense of superiority. The father’s generation may have achieved great things, but the child is still an ordinary person and cannot engage in privileges. He must compete with others in a fair environment, be self-reliant, and stand on his own. As for what the cadre’s child can do, he can take on any profession. As long as he is a person who is beneficial to society, it is not a disgrace.

作为高级干部子弟,我觉得最应注意的是不要吃父辈的老本,要靠自己的本事,不要有高人一等的优越感;父辈有了不起的地方,但自己还是普通人,不能搞特权;做事要与人家在公平环境里竞争,自立自强,凭本事站住脚。至于干部子弟干什么,三十六行都可能,只要做一个有益于社会的人,就不算辱没门楣。

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习近平 (Xi Jinping) (2022). "To be an Ambitious Generation——An Interview with Xi Jinping, son of Xi Zhongxun [做有志气有作为的一代——习仲勋之子习近平访谈录]". Interpret: China, Original work published April 15, 1997, https://interpret.csis.org/translations/to-be-an-ambitious-generation-an-interview-with-xi-jinping-son-of-xi-zhongxun/

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