China’s President Xi begins historic third term after unanimous vote

Chinese President Xi Jinping takes his oath during the Third Plenary Session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, on Marc 10, 2023. Picture: Mark R Cristino / REUTERS

Chinese President Xi Jinping takes his oath during the Third Plenary Session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, on Marc 10, 2023. Picture: Mark R Cristino / REUTERS

Published Mar 10, 2023


Xi Jinping became the first Chinese official to be elected China’s president for the third time.

He was unanimously elected president of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) on Friday at the ongoing session of China's national legislature, leading the country of 1.4 billion people.

Twenty-three people were also elected vice chairpersons of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the country's top political advisory body.

A total of 2,952 deputies were present at the third plenary meeting of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) on Friday morning, to exercise their constitutional right to elect China's state leadership.

Thunderous applause broke out across the Great Hall of the People when the results of the elections were pronounced.

Xi, donning a dark suit with a burgundy tie, rose from his seat and bowed to the lawmakers.

Born in 1953, Xi joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in January 1974, and became the Party branch secretary of the Liangjiahe Brigade in rural Shaanxi Province, later the same year.

He then embarked on a journey across China that saw him work in different provinces and municipalities and rise from the grassroots level to the helm of the Party and the state.

Xi was first elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and named chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission in November 2012. He was elected Chinese president and CMC chairman of the PRC in March 2013.

"Over the past 10 years, we have overcome one obstacle after another, and created miracle upon miracle. Most importantly, the people are happier, feel safer than ever, and have a stronger sense of fulfillment under his leadership," said NPC deputy Chen Zhen, head of the Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The CPC has established Xi's core position on the CPC Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and established the guiding role of "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era". The decision was made at the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee in 2021.

Experts believe the decision has been further consolidated by the elections of Xi to be Chinese president and chairman of the PRC CMC.

The solemnity of Friday's assembly was underscored by a ceremony with Xi and other newly elected state leaders pledging allegiance to China's Constitution.

"I pledge my allegiance to the Constitution of the PRC to safeguard the Constitution's authority, and fulfill my legal obligations, be loyal to the country and the people, be committed and honest in my duty, accept the people's supervision, and work for a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful," Xi said.

Under Xi's leadership, the world's second-largest economy is marching on a model of modernisation that has not been seen before.

The Chinese economy has come to account for over 18% of the world economy over the past 10 years, and its contribution to the world's economic growth has averaged over 30%.

The country has eradicated absolute poverty and built the largest education, social security, and health-care systems in the world.

The average life expectancy of the Chinese has increased from 74.8 to 78.2 years over the past decade, and there have been historic, transformative, and comprehensive changes in ecological and environmental protection.

China has also joined the ranks of the world's innovators, and achieved an overwhelming victory and fully consolidated the gains in the fight against corruption.

The country's military has been through an all-around revolutionary restructuring, becoming a much more modern and capable fighting force.

China has also created a miracle in human history, in which a highly populous nation has successfully pulled through a pandemic while maintaining social stability and steady economic development.

Observers believe that Friday's elections will inject greater certainty into China's modernisation drive.

"The elections will ensure that there is a steady hand at the helm, which will serve China well, particularly in this new era of new challenges," said Josef Gregory Mahoney, a professor of politics at East China Normal University.

"President Xi has already led us out of poverty," said Peng Xiaying, a villager in Shenshan Village of Jiangxi Province. "Now we put our faith in him to bring an even better life for all."

Well wishes

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping after the meeting at the 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Heads of State Council (SCO-HSC) Summit, in Uzbekistan, on September 16, 2022. File picture: Sergei Bobylev/ Sputnik viaEPA-EFE/

Russian President Vladimir extend his warm congratulations to Xi on Friday.

The decision adopted by the National People's Congress of China shows that Xi, as the head of state, enjoys high prestige and that the strategies he has formulated on promoting China's economic and social development and on safeguarding China's interests on the international stage have won the support of the Chinese people, Putin said.

The Russian side speaks highly of Xi's contribution to strengthening the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, Putin said, expressing his firm belief that with joint efforts of both sides, the Russia-China co-operation in various fields will continue to yield fruitful results.

Putin said he would continue to maintain close communication and co-ordination with Xi on major regional and international issues and wishes that Xi will make new and greater achievements in promoting the welfare of the friendly Chinese people.

Chinese President Xi Jinping takes his oath during the Third Plenary Session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, 10 March 2023. Picture: Mark R Cristino / REUTERS