After being named chairman of its military and head of the Communist Party last year, Xi Jinping officially took the reins of power in China last week in a ceremony that confirmed his status as the seventh president of the country. Unsurprisingly, Xi won the largely ceremonial position in a landslide, receiving 2,952 of the 2,956 votes cast—only one person voted against him, while three abstained. Seen as the progressive replacement for outgoing leader Hu Jintao, Xi has largely avoided the trappings of power enjoyed by his predecessor. In a speech after assuming party leadership, he said that “corruption and bribe-taking” by some in the party had to be addressed, and he pledged to bridge the growing gap between the people and their leaders. Amid growing resentment against the party, Xi has his work cut out for him. Whether he will be able to deliver on his promises remains to be seen.
From our March 29, 2013, issue.