From childhood details expunged from the record to a splendid hall full of forbidden dragons, Newsweek’s Melinda Liu reports on the Chinese president, an intensely private leader that some officials worry is too aloof for the international stage.
From outside the Hu Clan’s splendid ancestral hall, tucked away in Anhui province’s tiny village of Longchuan, there’s no sight of the once forbidden embellishments. But walk inside through the main gate, turn around and there they are: nine intricate dragons covering the huge gate’s wooden frame. Back when the place was built, more than five centuries ago, during the Ming dynasty, only the emperor was allowed to display such images. If the imperial court had known about the Hu clan’s hidden dragons, everyone responsible for the sacrilege would have been at risk of prison or beheading. But with the emblems of ambition facing discreetly inward, the clan survived and prospered.
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