China’s Vice-President Xi Jinping was today appointed as the new General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party, succeeding President Hu Jintao who retired as the head of the Party and the powerful military after a 10-year stint.
Xi, 59, was formally unveiled today by the state media which quoted the outcome of the meeting of the all-important Politburo Standing Committee of the CPC.
As per the Constitution of the Party, the top leadership retires every ten years and a new set of leaders are unveiled to lead China, the world’s second largest economy.
While the new leader would take charge of the Party from today, he would formally take over the Government from March next year, when the national legislature called the National People’s Congress holds it annual session.
Until then Hu and other leaders would continue in their Government posts.
Rising from a village head to a state leader, Xi carries the tag of a “hereditary” communist for being the son of a former Deputy Prime Minister, who was later persecuted by party founder Mao Zedong.
His father Xi Zhongxun who served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1959 to 1962, fell out of favour with Mao for his moderate views and relegated to obscurity. He was also reportedly imprisoned for sometime.
Xi Zhongxun also later publicly condemned the events of Tiananmen Square in 1989 in which thousands of students were killed. He was rarely seen after that.
Besides being the son of a former top Communist leader, Xi became well-known in China after he married Peng Liyuan, a famous Chinese folk singer who was widely popular in 1980s.
Members of the Standing Committee and Politburo are chosen by the Party’s new Central Committee comprising 205 members and 171 alternate members.
Besides the Congress which meets every five years, the Central Committee is the supreme policy making body. The new Committee was elected “through secret ballot” on the last day of the week long 18th Party Congress.