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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid