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Chinese President Hu Jintao hands over power Xi Jinping at pivotal congress

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 14th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

There was never any question - but Chinese President Hu Jintao handed over the reins to his vice President Xi Jinping in a landmark transition of power this week. China's ruling Communist Party closed a pivotal congress that approved a new leadership committee, casting their ballots behind closed doors in Beijing's great Hall of the People.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang have since taken their first steps to the presidency and premiership, respectively. The 2,270 carefully vetted delegates that approved the transition is a ruling council with around 200 full members and 170 or so alternate members with no voting rights.

The committee will later appoint a Politburo of a few dozen members and a Politburo Standing Committee, which will act as the innermost ring of power. There will be possibly seven member, two less than the current nine.

Xi was long expected to take over from Hu Jintao. In addition, Vice President Li is Premier Wen Jiabao's designated heir.

According to the Xinhua press agency, all the other eight leading officials who have been tipped as possible members of the Standing Committee also made it on to the Central Committee.

North Korean-trained economist Zhang Dejiang, financial guru Wang Qishan, minister of the party's organization department Li Yuanchao, Tianjin's party boss Zhang Gaoli, and the conservative Liu Yunshan, who has kept a tight rein on domestic media are on the committee.

Wang has been elected onto the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's internal corruption fighting watchdog. Wang Yang, Guangdong province's reform-minded party boss, Shanghai party Chief Yu Zhengsheng and the lone woman among the contenders, Liu Yandong, were elected on to the Central Committee as well.

The event was marked with turgid speeches and rhetorical displays of party unity. The five-yearly congress unanimously approved Hu's "state of the nation" work report and approved a revision to the party charter further enforcing Hu's theory of sustainable and equitable development.

Hu's report had warned that corruption threatened the party's rule and the state, but said the party must stay in charge as it battles growing social unrest.

Red flags and huge television screens showing clunky propaganda films were broadcast in Tiananmen Square, next to the Great Hall. The rest of city was under a tight ring of security.

Membership of these elite bodies should foretell economic and political policy direction China in the years ahead. How much influence Hu will retain and who, looking a decade ahead, could be China's next leaders are among the many concerns in the global community.

The membership of the two elite bodies could give an idea of China's political and economic direction, especially if it ends being dominated by conservatives instead of those with a reputation to push reform.

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