Xi Jinping became the new general secretary of the Communist Party of China for the next decade in a smooth transition, ending the 10-year reign of president Hu Jintao.
Fifty-nine-year-old Xi, who was the vice president till now, will replace Hu in March, while Li Keqiang, 57, will succeed prime minister Wen Jiabao.
In his first speech as the party chief on Thursday, Xi made it a point to praise China in an apparent attempt to boost the morale of the party. He also promised that though China had made great progress, “we are not complacent, and we will never rest on our laurels”.
Xi was also announced chairperson of the Central Military Commission, which controls the 2.3-million-strong People’s Liberation Army, thus ending the speculation that outgoing Hu would continue at the top of the military to ensure his influence in the new regime.
The new leader, however, might not find the going easy as former president Jiang Zemin, 86, still has influence, and at least four out of the seven new members are widely seen as his allies.