Xi is China's new leader

Beijing, Nov 15 (IANS) Pledging to carry on with the reforms process, Xi Jinping was Thursday anointed the new leader of China in a once in a decade leadership change that also saw a new seven-member committee to govern one of the biggest economies of the world.

Xi, 59, was elected the powerful general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and he in turn introduced here the new all-powerful seven-member Standing Committee of the new Political Bureau.

The new leader, who will step into President Hu Jintao's shoes, sought to end corruption and bureaucratism and pledged to carry on with reforms.

Xi led the other newly-elected members to meet the press at the cavernous Great Hall of the People, signalling his elevation to the top of China's ruling party.

"I was elected general secretary of the Party Central Committee by the plenary session. Now, I wish to introduce to you the other six newly elected members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau," Xinhua quoted him as saying.

"They are: Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan, and Zhang Gaoli. Li Keqiang was a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 17th Party Central Committee, and all the others were members of the Political Bureau of the 17th Party Central Committee," Xi said.

Li is slated to be the next premier, to succeed Wen Jiabao. Two women, Liu Yandong and Sun Chunlan, are among the Political Bureau members.

Xi pledged to "carry out reform and opening up" of the economy.

"We will rally and lead the whole party and the people of all ethnic groups in China in making continued efforts to free up our minds, carry out reform and opening up," he said.

He promised to "further release and develop the productive forces, work hard to resolve the difficulties the people face in both work and life, and unwaveringly pursue common prosperity".

Xi was also named chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, ending uncertainty on whether the post would be promptly transferred from Hu Jintao.

"...Under the new conditions, our Party faces many severe challenges, and 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," Xi said.

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

For the past week, China has been witness to a once-in-a-decade leadership transition that began with the 18th National Congress of the CPC. The congress ended Wednesday.

Xi said that China is "a great nation".

"Throughout 5,000 years and more of evolution as a civilization, the Chinese nation has made indelible contribution to the progress of human civilization."

In modern times, however, China endured untold hardships and sufferings, and its very survival hung in the balance, Xi said.

Since its founding, the Communist Party of China has made great sacrifices and forged ahead against all odds. It has rallied and led the Chinese people in transforming the poor and backward old China into an increasingly prosperous and powerful new China, thus opening a completely new horizon for the great renewal of the Chinese nation, he said.

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