New leadership takes shape amid high expectations
Updated: 2013-03-17 00:37
BEIJING - China's new state leadership has taken shape with the president, top legislator, premier, cabinet ministers, senior military leaders and judicial leaders all installed.
On Saturday afternoon, lawmakers endorsed the new lineup of the State Council, completing the election and appointment proceedings at the ongoing first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC).
On Thursday, lawmakers elected Xi Jinping as Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the People's Republic of China, as well as Zhang Dejiang as chairman of the 12th NPC Standing Committee, the country's top legislator. On Friday, they endorsed Li Keqiang as the premier.
Lawmakers also elected heads of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the country's chief justice and procurator-general.
"I have witnessed a lawful, smooth and transparent transition of state leadership, which will lay a solid foundation for the country's development in the future," said Sun Xianzong, an NPC deputy and research fellow with the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Sun said he was impressed by the political careers of President Xi and Premier Li.
"Over the past four months, they have shown an image of being pragmatic and innovative. They have brought new style and policies," he said.
The new leadership is to lead the world's most populous country and second largest economy through complex challenges at home and abroad.
NPC deputies voiced high expectations on the new state leadership.
Zhang Wencheng, an NPC deputy and village party chief from northeast China's Liaoning Province, said he hoped the new government could take measures to improve rural infrastructure and protect farm land.
"It is correct to push forward urbanization, but urbanization should not be carried out at the cost of farm land," he said. "In some places, farmers are deprived of land illegally and thus lose their livelihoods." NEW CABINET
At Saturday's meeting, nominated by Premier Li, Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yandong, Wang Yang and Ma Kai were endorsed as vice premiers, with Yang Jing, Chang Wanquan, Yang Jiechi, Guo Shengkun and Wang Yong as state councilors.
Born in November 1946 in southeast China's Fujian Province, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli is a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Before being elected to the CPC central leadership last November, Zhang was secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Tianjin municipal committee.
Liu Yandong and Ma Kai were both state councilors before the new appointment. Wang Yang served as secretary of the CPC Guangdong provincial committee from 2007 to 2012.
Lawmakers also endorsed Premier Li's nominations of ministers, governor of the central bank and auditor-general.
Among the newly endorsed ministers, nine are new to their positions, including the foreign minister, defense minister, finance minister, minister of supervision, commerce minister, minister of land and resources, as well as ministers in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, State Ethnic Affairs Commission and the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Both Zhou Xiaochuan and Liu Jiayi stayed in their posts as governor of the central bank and auditor-general.
A former Chinese ambassador to Japan, Wang Yi was appointed foreign minister, replacing Yang Jiechi. Wang had been director of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office since 2008.
Lou Jiwei, chairman of China Investment Corporation, China's sovereign wealth fund, was appointed finance minister, replacing Xie Xuren.
Gao Hucheng, former vice minister of commerce since 2003, was appointed minister of commerce, replacing Chen Deming.
Xu Shaoshi was appointed head of the National Development and Reform Commission, replacing Zhang Ping. Xu was minister of land and resources before the new appointment.
Li Bin, who served as head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission from 2008 to 2011, will lead the newly-founded National Health and Family Planning Commission.
During the NPC session, lawmakers also adopted a cabinet restructuring plan, which reduced the number of ministries under the State Council from 27 to 25, with the dismantling of the bulky Ministry of Railways and mergers among several other government departments.
"With the Chinese government completing the leadership transition, China's reform comes to a new starting point," said Prof. Wang Yukai from the National School of Administration.