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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

China ushers in new era under new leadership

Central News Agency

2012/11/15 20:05:34

Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA) The era of Xi Jinping arrived Thursday after he took over as the Communist Party of China's (CPC's) general secretary and the party's all-powerful Central Military Commission earlier in the day.

China's outgoing President Hu Jintao relinquished all leadership positions in the party after the conclusion of the CPC's 18th National Congress in Beijing on Wednesday.

Hu is expected to step down as president next March, giving way to Xi.

When Hu's predecessor Jiang Zemin took over the CPC's helm, Deng Xiaoping continued to hold the top military post for several years. In 2002, Jiang also chose to cling to the position for two years after he relinquished party leadership. Hu did not take over as head of the commission, which controls the People's Liberation Army, until September 2004.

The party's Central Committee also selected members of the core Poliburo Standing Committee, with the number being cut to seven from nine.

The seven were Xi; Li Keqiang, the presumptive premier and chief economic official; Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang; Shanghai party secretary Yu Zhengsheng; propaganda chief Liu Yunshan; Tianjin party secretary Zhang Gaoli and Vice Premier Wang Qishan.

Xi and the new members met the press at 11:54 a.m.

"There are many pressing problems within the party that need to be resolved, particularly corruption," the 59-year-old Xi said, reiterating the theme of the recent congress.

"We must make every effort to solve these problems. The whole party must stay on full alert," he said.

Meanwhile, a Hong Kong commentator said Thursday China's new leaders will be politically conservative, but economically pragmatic.

The new members are generally in their 60s and will therefore be conservative on political issues, especially propaganda chief Liu Yunshan, Johnny Lau said, noting that China will continue to control ideology as it has done in the past.

He also said that all seven members except for Li have been proteges of former leader Jiang Zemin or are still supported by him, showing that Jiang's influence is still strong.

He also said due to age of the new leaders and the fact that four of them will have to step down after Xi's first five-year term, there will likely be intense jockeying for the top post in the next five years, which he said would be detrimental to China's stability.

(By Charles Kang, Chiu Kuo-Ching , Sherman Wu and Lilian Wu)

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