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Xi Jinping in line to succeed Hu as Chinese President

Last Updated: Monday, October 18, 2010 - 18:53

Beijing: Chinese Vice-President Xi
Jinping was on Monday promoted and made vice-chairman of the
powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) of the ruling
Communist party, in clear indications that he will succeed
President and party chief Hu Jintao in 2012.

57-year-old Xi`s promotion was announced at the close
of the crucial Communist Party of China (CPC) plenum which
also pledged to make "steady and vigorous" efforts to promote
political restructuring, official Xinhua news agency reported.
Xi is expected to become the party chief in 2012 and
later may take over from Hu as President in 2013.

His appointment could be a signal of a major reshuffle
in China as along with President Hu, Premier Wen Jiabao and as
many as seven of the nine current members of the key Politburo
Standing Committee are expected to stand down in 2012 having
completed two consecutive terms.

This will pave the way for a takeover by a new
generation of leaders in a country that tends to work out
succession in advance to prevent power struggles among senior
officials.

The Chinese Vice-President is following Communist
party tradition in the footsteps of Hu Jintao, who also became
President and party chief after heading the Central Military
Commission (CMC). The body oversees 2.3 million soldiers of
the People`s Liberation Army.

Though Xi was regarded as natural successor to Hu,
doubts arose last year when he was not appointed to this post,
setting off speculation that the all powerful President may
have been backing someone else. According to speculation, Xi was not preferred as he
was close to former President and party chief Jiang Zemin,
with whom Hu did not get along well, even though he succeeded
him. It was still not clear why Xi was not nominated last
year. Some reports stated that Xi himself was not inclined.

But today`s appointment as Vice Chairman of the
Military Commission makes him a natural successor to Hu after
the Party Congress in 2012.

After the four-day plenum, the CPC, which has ruled
the country for more than six decades, said it will make
"vigorous yet steady" efforts to promote political
restructuring in next five years.

The communique issued by the fifth plenum of the 17th
CPC Central Committee said that reform was a powerful driving
force for accelerating the transformation of the economic
development mode.

Reform in every realm must be comprehensively pushed
forward with more resolution and encouragement.

"Great impetus would be given to economic
restructuring, while vigorous yet steady efforts should be
made to promote political restructuring," it said.

It also said more efforts should be made to speed up
the promotion of cultural and social reforms. The communique
said that China would continue opening wider to the outside
world and accelerate the "going global" strategy.

Approving an economic blueprint for the next five
years, the meeting decided to achieve "major breakthroughs" in
economic restructuring and maintain "stable and relatively
fast economic growth."

To speed up the transformation of the economic
development pattern marks a profound reform and should proceed
throughout all sectors of economic and social development,
said the communique.

Economic strategic restructuring should be a major
task in the transformation, which examined and approved the
12th Five-Year Programme (2011-2015) for National Economic and
Social Development, it added.

China aimed to reduce its dependence on investment and
exports, which made it vulnerable to global economic
recession, and efforts had been made to increase domestic
demand through consumer subsidies and rising incomes.

The communique said the CPC would continue the policy
of boosting domestic demand, and push forward technology
research and innovation.

It said improving people`s lives and making them feel
secure should be the "fundamental ends" of economic
transformation. The CPC vowed in the communique to further
boost people`s incomes, enhance social construction and deepen
reform and opening-up. Born in 1953, Xi, who was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by the Time magazine in 2009
has served in a number of positions related to the armed
forces and military reserve affairs during his previous
tenures at national and local levels.

He was a military officer in active service when he
worked as a secretary at the General Office of the Central
Military Commission from 1979 to 1982.

Xi is also member of the Standing Committee of the
Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, which is the
policy body of the CPC.

A follower of reformer Deng Xiaoping, who succeeded
hardliner Mao Zedong, Xi, recently launched a new project to
rewrite the history of the CPC "mainly correct errors" made
during the Cultural Revolution led by Mao Zedong, regarded by
the present leadership as an event that brought great calamity
to the country, causing serious setbacks and loss of life.

Xi, who heads the party school also called for
creation of a tolerant environment to encourage new ideas and
more strikingly asked the party officials to rid of lengthy
speeches, often laced with empty words and rhetoric to
reconnect the party with people.

In a candid speech at a party meeting early this year
he said new cadre of party students must improve their
speeches and writings promoting independent-thinking.

He warned that if current rhetorical styles continue
to proliferate, Party`s authority would be undermined and its
officials would be increasingly isolated from public.

His message to the party officials, who were caught in
a web of confusion over the new system of capitalist economy
with communist dictatorship, was to create tolerant
environment in changing China, which is posting impressive
growth rates.

PTI



First Published: Monday, October 18, 2010 - 18:53

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