News / Asia

Xi Jinping Becomes China's President

William Ide
China's National People's Congress has voted to elect Xi Jinping as the country's next president.  The largely ceremonial procedure marks the completion of China’s once in a decade leadership transition that began late last year. Over the past few months, Mr. Xi and China’s new team of leaders have been raising expectations here about the prospects for reform in this tightly ruled country.
 
In the space of just a few hours - representatives to China’s National People’s Congress voted unswervingly in support of Xi Jinping’s election to the post of president. Only one opposing vote was cast as well as three abstentions.
 
The result of the vote was never in doubt and there was an almost festive mood in China’s Great Hall of the People. Many delegates snapped photos of themselves while they were casting votes. Others sought Xi Jinping's autograph - as well as the autograph of the man tipped to become the country’s next premier Li Keqiang.
 
Li’s vote will be held Friday and there is little doubt of what the outcome of that election will be.

What remains unclear though, is how the two will handle China's immense challenges and growing calls for change.

Chinese officials have made it clear throughout the meetings of its National People's Congress that one option was not on the table - political reform.

  • Li Keqiang stands up when he was announced to be China's new premier, while Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao clap at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, March 15, 2013.
  • A delegate wearing an ethnic minority costume arrives at the Great Hall of the People where a plenary session of the National People's Congress is held in Beijing, March 15, 2013.
  • Hu Jintao shakes hands with China's newly elected President and chairman of the Central Military Commission Xi Jinping during the fourth plenary meeting of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, March 14, 2013.
  • A delegate looks at a ballot during the fourth plenary meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 14, 2013.
  • Delegates vote during the fourth plenary meeting of National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 14, 2013.
  • Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao gives the work report at the annual National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, March 5, 2013.
  • Delegates press buttons to cast their approval for draft proposals during the opening session of the annual National People's Congress in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, March 5, 2013.
  • A member of military music band yawns while others listen to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's speech at the annual National People's Congress at Beijing's Great Hall of the People, March 5, 2013.
  • A female Ethnic minority delegate walks from the Great Hall of the People after attending the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, March 5, 2013.
  • Delegates from Chinese People's Liberation Army line up on Tiananmen Square as they prepare to walk toward the Great Hall of the People for the opening session of the National People's Congress, March 5, 2013.
  • A delegate checks his mobile phone while officials' vehicles prepare to leave the Great Hall of the People after the opening session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, March 5, 2013.

National People's Congress spokeswoman Fu Ying says it is unfair to say that China's style of political reform is not reform whenever it does not follow in the footsteps of other countries.

A headline in the English version of China's state-run Global Times was more blunt.

It read: “Socialist Path Reaffirmed, Constant Rejection of Western model sets reform tone.”

However, China is not rejecting all Western political ideas. In recent weeks there have been numerous reports in Chinese media about renewed interest in the writings of French historian Alexis de Tocqueville.

Wang Qishan, one of the seven members of Xi's new core team of leaders has recommend the author's book, the “Old Regime and Revolution,” to his associates.

That has many talking here about whether China is ripe for a revolution.

Chinese journalist Cheng Yizhong says the reason Wang Qishan and Xi are interested in the works of Tocqueville is because they want to learn about ruling and how to maintain their hegemonic power and keep threats at bay. Liberals and citizens, however, have a different view, Cheng says. They think China should put an end to its one party rule. They believe that if this does not happen China could undergo another revolution similar to the French Revolution, he says.

Some believe true change will not come until political reform is carried out.

Social activist and filmmaker Ai Xiaoming says that more than putting one's hopes in the country's leaders, ordinary citizens need to take action to help promote change.

Ai says you cannot just put your faith in [these leaders] who drink water that has been specially provided for them,  whose families do not even live in China anymore. Ai says that when China's leaders assemble they just leave all the problems and criticism at the door. They do not allow people to speak up, to assemble, or protest in the streets.

China spends more money on public security than it does to fund its massive military. Public distrust in the country's leaders is a big concern, particularly as it relates to the problem of official graft.

China's Communist Party leaders have warned that corruption could kill the party and have been talking up the government's willingness to tackle corruption.

Xi says that the government will not only target lowly “flies” but higher ranking officials or “tigers” as well.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Wangchuk from: NY
March 15, 2013 10:43 AM
This is hardly a surprise. It was decided years ago when the Party decided to promote Xi to Party General Secretary. The Party is the political power in China, the govt merely implements policy. The real position is General Secretary. President is merely a formality. The NPC is just a rubber stamp. It meets only once every 5 years & has never rejected a Central Govt or Party initiative in its entire history.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs