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China's Xi Jinping Given Formal Title of President

Chinese Communist Party chief Xi Jinping took the official title of president, Thursday, in a formality that completes his rise to power.

Mr. Xi was given the largely symbolic position following an elaborate voting ceremony at a meeting of the National People's Congress. There were 2,952 votes in favor of Mr. Xi, with only one vote against him. He already took the more important posts of party secretary-general and head of China's top military body in November.

The 59-year-old is replacing Hu Jintao as part of a tightly managed power transfer that takes place every 10 years. During Thursday's ceremony, Politburo member Li Yuanchao, said to be a liberal-minded reformer, was named as vice president. Li Keqiang is expected to take over as prime minister Friday.

Since becoming party chief, Mr. Xi has vowed to revamp China's economy, reduce pollution and crack down on widespread corruption in the party ranks.

He has also promised to continue China's policy of reforming and opening up, while echoing the Communist party commitment to advancing "socialism with Chinese characteristics."

But Mr. Xi has departed from party norms in his attempts to cultivate a softer, more relatable image than his predecessors, meeting with common people and calling for less jargon-filled communication from the government.

He will have to deal with a Chinese population that has become increasingly vocal in demanding improvement in areas such as extreme pollution, rampant government corruption and rising inequality.