Xi chosen as president of China
Updated: 2013-03-15 07:21
By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Hu Jintao congratulates his successor Xi Jinping after the presidential election during the 12th National People's Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 14. Xu Jingxing / China Daily
Election by 3,000 deputies marks official transfer of power from Hu Jintao
China's 1.37 billion people - about 20 percent of the world's population - have seen their new leaders elected, upon whom they pin great hopes for a better future.
Nearly 3,000 deputies to the National People's Congress elected Xi Jinping, leader of the ruling Communist Party of China, as president through a secret ballot at a plenary meeting in Beijing on March 14.
The elevation of Xi to the presidency marked the official transfer of power from Hu Jintao.
Xi took over as the head of the Communist Party and its military commission from Hu at a quinquennial Party congress in November last year.
Also elected on the same day was the country's vice-president, Li Yuanchao, who served as director of the CPC's central organization department from 2007 to 2012.
A new 161-member NPC Standing Committee was elected, with Zhang Dejiang as its chairman, and 13 vice-chairpersons.
"It's great that we participated in and witnessed this historic moment," said 38-year-old Liang Wentong, a farmer and an NPC deputy from Guizhou province.
"I believed it was a sacred moment," he said. "The country gave me, a local farmer, an opportunity to select our top leaders by vote. I believe the new leaders can lead the country to a brighter future."
After becoming head of the Party, Xi has repeatedly stressed that China will push firmly ahead with the reform and opening-up policy, and has called for the rule of law to be upheld and the fight against corruption to be intensified.
Details of his family background and career have also been publicly revealed, which has been rare for senior Chinese leaders in the past.
The new Party leadership also decided on "eight disciplines", including cutting official banquets and meetings.
"Based on Xi's remarks and his practical attitude, I have confidence that under his leadership the new leaders can help us to achieve our dreams of becoming better-off," said Ruan Aixing, an NPC deputy and village official from Jiangping township of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. "I hope that the income gap between urban and rural regions will become narrower."
Vasyl Gamianin, charge d'affaires of Ukraine in China, who was invited to witness the voting, said he expects the new Chinese leaders to pay more attention to increasing domestic consumption and improving the environment.
"The ecological situation globally is very serious, and China is a very big country that follows the policy of sustainable development, which I firmly support," he said.
"I expect what the Chinese government is going to do will improve the ecology. I think they should introduce new technologies, new energy and reduce the levels of pollution."
Zhao Yinan, Jin Zhu and An Baijie contributed to this story.
(China Daily 03/15/2013 page3)