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New rulers of China
Xi Jinping and a new seven man Politburo Standing Committe have been sworn in as the leaders of China, as Huey Fern Tay reports.

Within the grandiose confines of the Hall of the People Xi Jinping and a new seven man Politburo Standing Committee were formally introduced as China's new rulers.

Mr Xi laid out his platform for the future, promising to tackle corruption, while improving the lives of ordinary Chinese.

He touched on the key issues of medical care, social security, jobs and the environment.

China correspondent Huey Fern Tay reports.
Transcript
HUEY FERN TAY, REPORTER: China has only undergone four leadership transitions since it became a Communist republic in 1949. Now the reins of power have been handed to a fifth generation.

(Footage of the new Communist Party leaders being introduced at the Great Hall of the People)

And these are the seven men who will be steering what is now the world's second biggest economy.

Leading the group will be Xi Jinping, a man who has been groomed for the job for years. And in his first address as general secretary, he warned of a long and arduous journey ahead for the Chinese Communist Party, touching on the crucial issue of corruption.

XI JINPING, GENERAL SECRETARY, COMMUNIST PARTY (translation): The problems among our party members of corruption, taking bribes, being out of touch with the people, undue emphasis on formalities and bureaucratism must be addressed with great efforts. The whole Party must be vigilant against them.

HUEY FERN TAY: The months leading up to this power transition have been an exceptionally tumultuous time in Chinese politics but there was never any doubt that Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang would be among this elite group of individuals.

The size and composition of the rest of the group, however, has been the subject of much speculation for a long time. They include Zhang Dejiang who has been in charge of Chongqing ever since the downfall of Bo Xilai. He obtained his economics degree from North Korea.

The former mayor of Beijing Wang Qishan has also made the cut. He has been the driving force behind US-China economic and strategic dialogue and is well respected by foreign leaders.

The size and make-up of this select group of individuals would have been the result of an intense and complicated process involving factional infighting even though in theory they are decided on by the central committee who are approved on the last day of the Party Congress.

But closer inspection of the credentials and personal background of China's new leaders also reveal a cautious selection.

BO ZHIYUE, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE: This leadership transition to new leadership, but the composition of the new leadership is made up of the majority of 4.5 generations instead of fifth generation.

So in a sense it's transitional leadership. So this kind of make-up is good for policy implementation but not good for substantial political reform.

KERRY BROWN, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY: Really this is a line-up where Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang, his premier, presumably his number two, are sort of the suns around which all the other stars kind of circulate. They are the centre of attention and they have huge powers.

HUEY FERN TAY: China's new generation of leaders have an enormous task ahead of them.

One pressing issue is the decline in living standards. A problem highlighted by the outgoing and incoming Chinese presidents.

XI JINPING (translation): Our people love life and yearn for better education, stable jobs, more satisfactory income, greater social security, improved medical and health care, more comfortable living conditions, and a more beautiful environment.

HUEY FERN TAY: But tackling these thorny matters will be tough.

KERRY BROWN: It will be presentational changes, so that is important that they will talk in a difference way. There will be different faces. But they can't always just rely on that. At some point they're going to have to have answers about the incredible structural problems of a very complicated and daily more complex economy and more complex society.

HUEY FERNT TAY: Xi Jinping now heads the Communist Party and the Central Military Commission, which controls the army.

But he will have to wait until next March before he can assume the presidency. That will mark the end of a clean power transition, only the second peaceful handover in the history of China's Communist government.
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