Xi Jinping took the reins today as leader of China's Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Xi led the new Politburo Standing Committee across the stage at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, a walk that introduces him as leader. As expected, Li Keqiang followed Xi onto the stage — meaning he will succeed Premier Wen Jiabao.
The other five, in order of seniority, were Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, Shanghai party boss Yu Zhengsheng, propaganda chief Liu Yunshan, Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and Tianjin party boss Zhang Gaoli.
The 59-year-old Xi, a "princeling" and former Shanghai party chief, was appointed to the Politburo in 2007 and long expected to succeed Hu Jintao. Xi will formally become president when Hu steps down in March 2013.
Most of the new committee, reduced in size from nine to seven, are seen as politically conservative, with perceived reformers shut out of power. According to GlobalPost's Benjamin Carlson, "the seven men who will together rule China gave analysts little hope for bold reform."
The makeup of the committee "is older than anticipated, and seemingly designed to preserve the status quo," Carlson said.
Three of outgoing leader Hu's allies — Li Yuanchao, Liu Yuandong and Wang Yang — did not make it into the Standing Committee.
In a speech, Xi raised the issue of corruption and praised the "bravery and wisdom" of the Chinese people.
"The 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," Xi said, according to the BBC.
The Party will work to meet "expectations of both history and the people," he said "The people's desire for a better life is what we shall fight for."
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