News / Asia

Xi Jinping Becomes China's President

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid