Xi Jinping Officially Becomes China's Leader
November 15, 2012
China's Communist Party has officially appointed Xi Jinping to be the party's general secretary, taking over from Hu Jintao.
Xi also was named the chairman of the party's Central Military Commission and is expected to be named state president in March 2013.
Xi is the son of a respected communist revolutionary who served as Shanghai’s party secretary, the top job there. His wife is Peng Liyuan, a famous singer who also holds the rank of army general. Their daughter is currently a student at Harvard University.
Xi said China's new leaders face an "enormous responsibility" and will fight for a "better life" for the country's people.
Many Chinese citizens believe corruption is the country's main problem.
Xi addressed this issue, saying, "There are also many pressing problems within the party that need to be resolved, particularly corruption, being divorced from the people, going through formalities, and bureaucratism caused by some party officials."
China's Xinhua news agency reported the number of members in the Politburo Standing Committee, the top officials in the country, was reduced from nine to seven.
Among the other people named to these prominent posts was Li Keqiang, a deputy prime minister who many say will be named prime minister in March. Li held top posts in Henan and Liaoning provinces and was an ally of outgoing President Hu Jintao.
Zhang Dejiang is a North Korean-trained economist who took over as party secretary in Chongqing city, replacing the disgraced Bo Xilai, who was ousted after it emerged his wife was allegedly involved in the murder of a British businessman.
Zhang has been deputy prime minister in charge of energy, telecommunications, and transportation since 2008.
The other four members of the Standing Committee are Yu Zhengsheng, party secretary of Shanghai since 2007, a position he took over when Xi Jinping was promoted from that post; Liu Yunshan, the Communist Party's propaganda chief since 2002 and a former reporter for the Xinhua news agency in Inner Mongolia; Wang Qishan, a deputy prime minister and former mayor of Beijing; and Zhang Gaoli, a trained economist who has been the party secretary of Tianjin municipality since 2007.
All the members are in their mid-60s, with the exception of 59-year-old Xi Jinping and 57-year-old Li Keqiang.
The change in China's leadership happens only once each decade. The new leadership must also contend with a falling economic performance and a widening gap between rich and poor in the country.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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