WASHINGTON - Hacked e-mails of Mrs Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta reveal that the US Democratic presidential nominee in 2013 hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping as a better politician than his predecessor, Mr Hu Jintao, and also praised his ability to consolidate his authority over the People's Liberation Army.
"He is a better politician than his immediate predecessor, Hu Jintao," Mrs Clinton was quoted as telling the CME Group, a worldwide leading derivatives marketplace, in two speeches in November 2013, according to the hacked e-mails revealed by WikiLeaks, reported the South China Morning Post.
Mrs Clinton, who is known as a vocal critic of Mr Xi, said of the Chinese leader: "He lived in the United States for a short period of time, actually lived in Iowa on a... farm. He was working in agricultural issues within the Communist Party, you know, about 30 years ago."
The speech was made about a year after Mr Xi became China's leader. She also praised Mr Xi for consolidating his power within the party and over the army within a short period of time, as well as his reforms.
"He has consolidated his power quite quickly over the military and over the Communist Party. He has set forth a plan for economic reform, some of which is quite far-reaching, and some social reform as well like, you know, saying they're going to end, at least to some extent, the one-child policy,"said Mrs Clinton.
Mrs Clinton's campaign has refused to confirm or deny the veracity of the leaked e-mails.
The leaked e-mails also revealed Mrs Clinton saying in a speech to Goldman Sachs in early April 2013: "I think it's a good news, maybe not so good news story about what is going on right now in China. On the good news side, I think the new leadership - and we'll see more of that when Xi Jinping gets here in the United States after having gone to Latin America. He's a more sophisticated, more effective public leader than Hu Jintao was."
"He is political in the kind of generic sense of that word. You can see him work a room, which I have watched him do. You can have him make small talk with you, which he has done with me."
"His experience as a young man coming to the United States in the 1980s - going to Iowa, spending time there, living with a family - was a very important part of his own development."
"So he's someone who you at least have the impression is a more worldly, somewhat more experienced politician. And I say that as a term of praise, because he understands the different levers and the constituencies that he has to work with internally and externally." "That's especially important because of the recent moves he's making to consolidate power over the military," said Mrs Clinton, according to the South China Morning Post.
In response to a question on whether Mr Xi's daughter, Ms Xi Mingze, was studying at Harvard University, Mrs Clinton said: "Yes. They don't like you to know that, but most of the Chinese leadership's children are at American universities or have been."
Mrs Clinton underlined that it was a good news when Mr Xi was doing much more to try to assert his authority, saying: "One of the biggest concerns I had over the last four years was the concern that was manifested several different ways that the PLA, the People's Liberation Army, was acting somewhat independently; that it wasn't just a good cop/bad cop routine when we would see some of the moves and some of the rhetoric coming out of the PLA, that in effect were making some foreign policy."
She said that Mr Hu, unlike former president Jiang Zemin before him, had never really captured the authority over the PLA that was essential for any government, whether it was a civilian government in the US or a communist party government in China.
"So President Xi is doing much more to try to assert his authority, and I think that is also good news," said Mrs Clinton, reported the South China Morning Post.