CHINA’S Communist Party installed Xi Jinping as its new general secretary yesterday, putting a politician known as a cautious reformer in charge of the world’s most populous country.
Xi, 59, and six other men were added to the party’s top committee at a ceremony in Beijing, as the party completed its once-a-decade reshuffle.
Xi, who has replaced Hu Jintao in China’s top job, is the son of reformist former vice premier and parliament vice-chairman Xi Zhongxun, making him a “princeling”, one of the privileged sons and daughters of China’s incumbent or former leaders.
“Since the founding of the CPC, we have united and led the people to advance and struggle tenaciously, transforming the impoverished and backward Old China into the New China that has become prosperous and strong gradually,” he told reporters.
He also spoke out against corruption within the party, pledging to root out those who abuse their position.
According to official news agency Xinhua, the new leader’s motto is “do it now”. However, some onlookers are sceptical of seeing meaningful change under Xi’s watch.
“We’re not going to see any political reform because too many people in the system see it as a slippery slope to extinction,” said David Shambaugh, director of the China policy programme at the George Washington University.