China unveils new leadership; Xi, Li elected as members of CPC central committee



Beijing: China's ruling Communist Party Wednesday unveiled a new generation of younger leadership, including Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, as members of the key Central Committee to lead the world's largest political party and the second largest economy in the next decade.

The 18th CPC Central Committee will in turn elect the Politburo, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and the General Secretary of the party at its first plenary session here tomorrow.

The week-long 18th Party Congress, which concluded its in-camera session at Beijing's cavernous Great Hall of the People also passed resolutions on the report of the 17th CPC Central Committee, the work report of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and a key amendment to the CPC Constitution.

"The congress elected a new central committee of the Party and replaced older leaders with younger ones," the CPC General Secretary and Chinese President Hu Jintao said in a closing address to 2,307 delegates.

"We are convinced that all the decisions and plans adopted and all the achievements made at the Congress, which are of major current and far-reaching historical significance, will play an important role in guiding the all-around development of the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the great new undertaking of Party building," he said.

The Central Committee is the highest working body in the CPC, whose most members are leading figures of the party, government and army. The Central Committee, which has over 370 members, will tomorrow elect the politburo and its standing committee.

The CPC has been ruling China since the People's Republic was founded in 1949. The CPC is the world's largest political party, claiming a membership of over 80 million members.

The Central Committee meets every year to make decisions on major policies and is also responsible for appointing the most powerful people in China. That committee will then endorse China's top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee.

The new top line-up, including who will succeed 69-year-old Hu as party's General Secretary will be unveiled tomorrow, and will be keenly analysed for signs of China's future economic and political direction.

China became the world's second largest economy in 2010 after the United States and is increasingly playing an important and influential role in the global economy. Xi and Li are expected to become party leader and deputy respectively. Xi is also expected to take over from Hu as China's president in March 2013.

Xi, 59, is member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the 17th CPC Central Committee, vice president and vice chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission.

Li, 57, is also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 17th CPC Central Committee and vice premier. Li is set to succeed Premier Wen Jiabao, 70, next March.

State-run Xinhua news agency reported that other top members of the Central Committee were: Wang Qishan, Liu Yunshan, Liu Yandong, Li Yuanchao, Wang Yang, Zhang Gaoli, Zhang Dejiang and Yu Zhengsheng.

China's leadership change happens every 10 years. The party congress opened on November 8 with a work report from Hu. Since then, the decision-making has been taking place behind closed doors - with many of the key selections in reality decided in advance.

Meanwhile, the party Congress also passed an amendment to the Constitution of the CPC, making Hu's theory of 'Scientific Outlook on Development' as part of its guide for action.

Unanimously approved, the amendment juxtaposes the Scientific Outlook on Development along with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents.

Hailing the Outlook as "the crystallisation of the collective wisdom of the CPC and a long-term guiding ideology the Party must adhere to", a resolution passed at the session says the theory represents the Party's latest achievement in adapting Marxism to China's conditions.

The party also amended its Constitution to take reform and opening up as the path to a stronger China, and the salient feature of the new period in China. Delegates also passed an amendment to the Constitution, highlighting the need to promote ecological progress.

PTI