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.
    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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.