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Xi appointed new CPC chief; to replace Hu as Prez in March

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Xi appointed new CPC chief; to replace Hu as Prez in March
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Beijing: Xi Jinping was today appointed the new General Secretary of China's ruling CPC in a smooth power transition that ushered in a fifth generation of leaders to steer the world's second largest economy over the next decade, ending the 10-year reign of President Hu Jintao.

59-year-old Xi, who was the Vice President till now, will replace Hu as President in March, while Li Keqiang, 57, will succeed Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

Xi was also named the chief of the 2.3 million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA), the world's largest standing military, allowing the new leader to have a free hand in running the most populous nation.

The fifth generation of CPC leaders was formally unveiled to the media at the cavernous Great Hall of People overlooking Tiananmen Square in an event telecast live all over the country, bringing an end to the intense jockeying for power among various sections of the world's biggest political party having reported membership of over 80 million.

Other members of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) included Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli.

Former President Jiang Zemin took the centre stage at the week-long 18th Party Congress, both at its inaugural and valedictory meetings sitting between Hu and Wen.

Ten years after his retirement as CPC chief, Jiang, 86, continued to be "backroom boss" of the Party earning the tag of "king maker" as most of the leaders who got elected to the Central Committee yesterday were reportedly close to him.

In a wide-ranging speech after his appointment as CPC chief, Xi said corruption and alienation of party officials from people were the main problems confronting the country.

"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," he said. "We must make every effort to solve these problems."

PTI

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