Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Xi formally elected Chinese president

By Kevin Voigt and Jaime FlorCruz, CNN
March 14, 2013 -- Updated 1333 GMT (2133 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Xi Jinping formally takes role of Chinese president
  • China's National People's Congress draws to a close
  • New leaders were named last November but have been waiting for congress
  • NPC discussed major issues facing country, including economic aims

Beijing (CNN) -- Xi Jinping was named China's president Thursday by the country's parliament, one of the final steps in China's once-in-a-decade leadership change.

Four months after taking over as General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi replaces outgoing leader Hu Jintao after a formal vote of about 3,000 deputies at the National People's Congress (NPC).

The vote, largely a rubber stamp that completes the highly choreographed leadership transition, was unanimous.

Li Keqiang will become premier, replacing Wen Jiabao who stands aside as part of the leadership overhaul, which will see the traditionally nine-member Politburo Standing Committee shrink to seven.

Xi was also named chairman of the state Central Military Commission. "He has had a stronger military relationship than either of his two predecessors -- Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao -- when they began, so Xi comes in with a really strong position and he needs it," Robert Lawrence Kuhn, author of "How China's Leaders Think," told CNN.

Xi Jinping set to take Chinese presidency
Corruption concerns Chinese officials
China's migrant misery
Author: Groundhog Day for China's Xi
Corruption concerns Chinese officials

"We could go through a whole list of problems from the structure of the economy as well as the social issues: Health care, housing, education and pollution and retirement and food safety," Kuhn added. "All of these things are all bubbling up together -- and with a billion cell phones in China, everybody knows it, so he's on the spot."

Opening the NPC last week, Wen urged delegates to "unite as one and work hard to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," according to state-run news agency Xinhua.

PROFILES: China's new leaders

Since the congress convened March 5, thousands of Chinese officials have held a series of meetings to discuss the structure of state departments and future targets. The NPC concludes Sunday.

On the first day, Wen announced the country was aiming for an annual growth rate this year of 7.5%. Efforts would be made to keep consumer price inflation at around 3.5%. And, nine million new jobs would be created with the intention of keeping urban unemployment at no more than 4.6%.

During the NPC, it was announced Beijing would strengthen the powers of the State Food and Drug Administration in the wake of widespread health concerns over food safety, such as tainted milk and baby formula scandals, according to Xinhua.

READ: Three challenges for new leaders

The issue of water quality also became clear during the congress, with the discovery of nearly 6,000 pigs in a Shanghai river, raising local concerns about the safety of the city's drinking water.

This winter has seen its worst pollution in living memory, angering a population already jaded by a series of high-profile corruption scandals -- including the downfall of the once high-flying politician Bo Xilai -- that have tainted the reputation of the party.

In a speech published by the People's Daily earlier this month, Xi warned that China faced many risks and challenges, saying that the party's future was at stake.

The NPC also approved the restructuring of several ministries under the State Council.

The two agencies that regulate and censor media -- the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the General Administration of Press and Publication -- will be merged, as will the Health Ministry and the National Population and Family Planning Commission, Xinhua reported.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
ADVERTISEMENT