The Man with the Million-Yuan Smile

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It's not hard to come across as more human than former Chinese President Hu Jintao -- a man the Financial Times once said "made R2D2 ... look like a thing of flesh and blood." But ever since his first public speech as head of the Chinese Communist Party -- which began with a warm apology for running late -- people both at home and abroad have been struck by the charms and charisma of the country's new leader.

The Wall Street Journal rhapsodized about Xi Jinping's "burly frame," his "deep, sonorous voice" and his "glamorous wife." The Global Times bragged about the new leader kicking around a Gaelic football while on a visit to Ireland, during which he "quickly charmed the world." A column in the South China Morning Post even used the word "folksy" to describe the former princeling.

Xi, who will be doing some gripping and grinning with Barack Obama when they meet in California this week, likely recognizes that China's problems are far too big to be solved by charm alone. But it can't hurt, right? Here's a look at some of Xi's finer man-of-the-people moments.

Above, Xi shakes hands with Chinese construction workers at the site of the Couva Children's Hospital in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, on June 1, 2013.


Xi shakes hands with members of a welcoming committee accompanied by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete upon his arrival at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam on March 24, 2013.


Xi signs an autograph for an ethnic-minority delegate during the fourth plenary meeting of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People on March 14, 2013 in Beijing, China. 


A girl places a red scarf on Xi during a children's activity in Beijing on May 29, 2013.


Xi kisses a child at a temporary shelter for quake-affected residents in Lushan County in southwest China's Sichuan province on May 21, 2013.


Xi puts on a bamboo hat given to him by local residents of the Li ethnic group during his visit to a rose farm at Yalong Bay in Sanya City in south China's Hainan province on April 9, 2013.


Xi visits an impoverished villager in the Luotuowan Village of Fuping County in northern China's Hebei province on Dec. 30, 2012.



Xi meets with workers at the construction site of the Nanluoguxiang station of subway line 8 in Beijing on Feb. 8, 2013. Xi visited and extended greetings to laborers including subway construction workers, sanitation workers, police officers, and taxi drivers in Beijing that day, ahead of the China's Spring Festival.


Xi serves food to an old man as he visits a cafeteria in a senior citizens' center in Lanzhou, the capital of northwest China's Gansu province, on Feb. 4, 2013.


Xi shakes hands with villagers as he visits the Bulenggou Village of the Dongxiang Autonomous County in northwest China's Gansu province on Feb. 3, 2013.


Xi visits the family of Tang Zongxiu (right), an impoverished villager in the Luotuowan Village of Longquanguan Township, Fuping County, in northern China's Hebei province on Dec. 30, 2012.


Xi visits the family of Tang Rongbin, an impoverished villager in the Luotuowan Village of Longquanguan Township, Fuping County, in northern China's Hebei province on Dec. 30, 2012.


Xi visits a resident's home at a community in Shenzhen, in south China's Guangdong province, on Dec. 11, 2012.

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