News / Asia

Xi Confirmed as China's New Leader

New members of the Politburo Standing Committee, from left, Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Yu Zhengsheng and Wang Qishan stand in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, November 15, 2012.
New members of the Politburo Standing Committee, from left, Zhang Gaoli, Liu Yunshan, Zhang Dejiang, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Yu Zhengsheng and Wang Qishan stand in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, November 15, 2012.
William Ide
After months of speculation and a messy political scandal, China's Communist Party leaders have selected a new group of seven men to be the country’s core leaders and set its agenda for the coming decade.  
 
China’s Xi Jinping has succeeded Hu Jintao, taking over his top positions as head of the Communist Party and the country’s powerful military.

China: Who's Who - a VOA interactive
 
The new group of men tasked with guiding the world’s second largest economy is rising up as China’s fifth generation of leaders at a time when the country is facing a vast range of challenges and when calls for reform are growing.
 
Xi Jinping

  • Named president on March 14, 2013
  • Named secretary-general of Communist Party and head of China's Central Military Commission November 15, 2012
  • Vice president from 2008-2013
  • Joined the Communist Party of China in 1974
  • Born in Fuping, Shaanxi Province in 1953
  • Son of revolutionary hero Xi Zhongxun, who fell out with Chairman Mao Zedong and was imprisoned for years before being politically rehabilitated
  • Married to Chinese folk singer Peng Liyuan
Xi seemed keenly aware of those problems and mentioned them directly in a short but pointed address that political analysts say is setting the tone for his tenure in office.
 
"Our people have a fervent love for life," he said. "They wish to have better education, more stable jobs, more income, greater social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions, and a better environment."
 
  • China's new Politburo Standing Committee members (from L to R) Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli, arrive to meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 15, 2012.
  • Chinese Communist Party delegates from the People's Liberation Army enter the Great Hall of the People, for the closing ceremony for the 18th Communist Party Congress, Beijing, November 14, 2012.
  • China's leaders raise their hands to show approval for a work report at the closing ceremony for the 18th Communist Party Congress, Beijing, November 14, 2012.
  • Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, center, Propaganda chief Li Changchun, left, and head of Political and Legislative Affairs Committee Zhou Yongkang raise their hands during the 18th Communist Party Congress, Beijing, November 14, 2012.
  • From left, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection head He Guoqiang, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, People's Political Consultative Conference Chairman Jia Qinglin, National People's Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo and Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Communist Party Congress, November 14, 2012.
  • A soldier dressed as an usher, front, guards the stairs to the Great Hall of the People, while a Chinese Communist Party delegate poses for photos ahead of the closing ceremony of the 18th Communist Party Congress in Beijing, China, November 14, 2012.
  • A family walks in front of a screen showing propaganda displays on a bridge in Shanghai, China, November 8, 2012.
  • Delegates chat outside of the Guangxi room before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, the venue of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, November 8, 2012.
  • A man walks past official propaganda to welcome the Chinese Communist Party's 18th Congress which held in Beijing, at a bookstore in Shanghai, China, November 8, 2012.
  • Chinese soldiers walk past the Great Hall of the People where the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress is being held in Beijing, November 8, 2012.
  • A huge screen shows a broadcast of Chinese President Hu Jintao speaking at the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 8, 2012.
  • A Chinese man watches a news broadcast of Chinese President Hu Jintao speaking at the opening session of the 18th Communist Party Congress as he eats his dinner in his home in Beijing, November 8, 2012.

 
Xi also spoke about the growing concern of Communist Party officials’ abuse of power and corruption.

"The problems among our party members and cadres of corruption, taking bribes, being out of touch with the people, undue emphasis on formalities and bureaucracy must the addressed with great efforts. The whole party must be vigilant against them," he said.
 
While his comments about corruption and the problems China is confronting were not new, his style is markedly different from past Chinese leaders.
 
David Zweig, a political scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said Xi came across as very relaxed in his first address and noted that Xi apologized to reporters for making them wait. Zweig noted that Xi's comments about China wanting to be a part of the world echo his career and personality.
 
"He has been around, he has dealt with the West, he has lived in Fujian for a long time, he dealt with the outside world, he dealt with Taiwan, he dealt with Hong Kong, " said Zweig. "And he's you know he's worked in Shanghai, he has worked in Zhejiang, he is a coastal guy, spent time in the U.S., he did very well in his trip to the United States."
 
Political analysts say that in the time that Xi has served as China’s vice president he has traveled overseas about 50 times, while his predecessor Hu Jintao has made less than 20 trips overseas.
 
The contrast between China’s outgoing leader and Xi attracted comments online. One user of China’s Twitter-like microblogging service Weibo posted a comparison of outgoing leader Hu Jintao’s speech when he became party chief a decade ago and Xi Jinping’s remarks. The posting noted Xi’s added references to the Chinese people, the risks the party is facing and his apology to reporters.
 
Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University, said Xi is trying to move away from party jargon.
 
"That is a good change from Hu Jintao, who really in his opening speech was terribly traditional in his language, underscoring a distance with the society, which is a subject of concern, including within the ruling elite." Cabestan said. "The new party leadership needs to manage relations with the society after a few months of a series of scandals affecting top politburo members."
 
Cabestan added it is not only the style that needs to change in China, but also the way the new leadership runs the country.
 
"I think the trouble is they are united about a number of things, but they are divided about more daring and more political reforms. They are united about the need to move towards another growth model - consumption led growth models - it will take more time than expected," he said.
 
For his part, Xi indicated he is looking to the public for support and pledged in his address to do everything he could to fulfill his mission as China’s new leader.
 
"Our strength lies in the people," said Xi. "We know full well that the capability of any individual is limited. But as long as we are united as one, there is no difficulty that we cannot overcome. An individual only has a limited time in office, but there is no limit to serving the people heart and soul.”
 
Such soaring appeals for public unity are a reminder of the big challenges ahead. Analysts say Xi’s biggest test is steering a course that satisfies both a public hungry for greater openness in political and economic systems with conservative party members who are reluctant to embrace change.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Alen Agaronov from: Brooklyn, NY
November 15, 2012 9:24 PM
Listen to the Fat Man: China Urges New Leader to Focus on Food Safety

http://fooddigested.com/2012/11/15/listen-to-the-fat-man-chinese-urge-new-leader-to-focus-on-food-safety/

by: VOAObserver
November 15, 2012 5:11 PM
Nice rhetoric, especially for the head of the un-free world. The beauty of rhetoric, is that you now become beholden to it, or lose credibility. Xi may have unwittingly given the people a reason to remove him later.
In Response

by: Danny from: Shanghai
November 15, 2012 9:18 PM
Ok man, you really are American.
In Response

by: czheng from: Redwood City, CA
November 15, 2012 6:26 PM
at least he's giving the Chinese people a renewed hope, and it sounds more promising than any president in CCP's political history. I'm actually thrilled to see what he will do in the next 5 years.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs