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China completes largest leadership transition of last decade

Updated: 2013-03-17 07:14

BEIJING - With photos of China's new president, premier and top legislator shaking hands with their respective predecessors appearing on front pages, China has completed the largest transition of state leadership to take place in the last decade, ushering in a new era.

Xi Jinping, head of the Communist Party of China (CPC), was elected state president and chairman of the country's Central Military Commission (CMC) Thursday at an annual parliamentary session held in Beijing.

China completes largest leadership transition of last decade

Xi's nomination of Li Keqiang as the premier of the State Council, China's cabinet, was approved one day later by nearly 3,000 deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC).

Meanwhile, deputies representing over 1.3 billion people elected leaders and members of the NPC Standing Committee, as well as the state vice president, CMC vice presidents, and heads of the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.

The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body, has also elected its new leadership.

Cheng Li, director of research at the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, said the formation of a new state leadership concludes a once-a-decade power transfer that was initiated at the CPC national congress held on November.

The CPC congress elected a new Central Committee, which then elected a new top CPC leadership, including Xi as its general secretary and its central military commission chairman.

Sun Xianzhong, an NPC deputy and legal scholar who cast ballots at the session, described the leadership change as "steady and transparent."

Analysts say the new leadership, which is now overseeing the world's most populous country and the second-largest economy, is a team that will take China to a higher level of development.

Because they have grass-roots working experience, "they know the national condition from first-hand experience and can feel the people's needs," Sun said.

According to Li, the new leadership is diverse. They come from different political parties with different academic backgrounds. Some of them even have overseas education experience.

Moreover, analysts say the completion of the leadership transition shows that the CPC has made another significant step in achieving the institutionalization and standardization of the transfer of power.

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