|Xi Jinping greets deputies at the fourth plenary meeting of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, capital of China, March 14, 2013. Xi was elected president of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and chairman of the Central Military Commission of the PRC at the NPC session here on Thursday. (Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, was elected president of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and chairman of the PRC Central Military Commission (CMC) on Thursday.
When Liu Yunshan, executive chairman of the presidium for the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), announced the election results, Xi stood up and bowed to nearly 3,000 NPC deputies in the Great Hall of the People.
Amid thundering applause, he shook hands with Hu Jintao, who had served as head of state since 2003.
Born in 1953 into a revolutionary family from Fuping of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, Xi joined the CPC in January 1974.
He graduated from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Tsinghua University with a major in Marxist theory and ideological and political education.
From the Loess Plateau to the southeast coast and then to Beijing, and from county-level official to the central leadership, Xi has had a well-rounded political career.
On Nov. 15, 2012, he was elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee at the first plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee and became the first top Party leader born after October 1949, when the People's Republic of China was founded.
Xi's performance as Party leader in the past four months has been impressive, said Cai Jiming, an NPC deputy.
"I am inspired by Xi's elaboration on the 'Chinese dream,'" he said. "He has advocated a new working style and shown resolve in pushing forward reform and fighting corruption, which is refreshing to me."
Li Yuanchao, a 62-year-old member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, was elected vice president.
From 2007 to 2012, Li headed the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee.
The plenary meeting also saw the elections of leaders and members of the 12th NPC Standing Committee, the permanent organ of the country's parliament.
Zhang Dejiang, a 66-year-old member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, was elected chairman of the NPC Standing Committee. He replaced Wu Bangguo, who held the position for the past decade.
The new top legislator and his predecessor also enjoyed a warm handshake after the election results were announced.
Zhang, who graduated from the Department of Economics at Kim Il Sung University in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has been vice premier since 2008. Before that, he led Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces, two of the country's most developed provinces.
Li Jianguo, Wang Shengjun, Chen Changzhi, Yan Junqi, Wang Chen, Shen Yueyue, Ji Bingxuan, Zhang Ping, Qiangba Puncog, Arken Imirbaki, Wan Exiang, Zhang Baowen and Chen Zhu were elected vice chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee.
Wang Chen was also elected secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee.
A total of 2,963 deputies participated in the secret ballot under the supervision of 35 election monitors.
In the conference hall, 28 ballot boxes had been installed for the elections. Each deputy cast four ballots -- crimson for president and vice president, bright red for CMC chairman, purple for leaders of the NPC Standing Committee and orange for members of the NPC Standing Committee.
According to the election and appointment rules adopted at the NPC session, the elections of chairman, vice chairpersons and secretary-general of the 12th NPC Standing Committee, president and vice-president of the PRC, and chairman of the CMC are non-competitive.
The elections of the 12th NPC Standing Committee members are competitive. A total of 161 members were elected from a pool of 174 candidates, bringing the 7-percent margin in the previous election five years ago to 8 percent.
The NPC deputies also adopted a massive cabinet restructuring and streamlining plan aimed at reducing bureaucracy and making the government more efficient.
"I believe that under the new leadership, a moderately prosperous society can be built as we expect," said Zhu Liangyu, a migrant worker deputy who has worked as a security guard in Beijing for 20 years.
Xi Jinping -- PRC president, CMC chairman