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

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid