China's new leader Xi Jinping capped his rise yesterday by adding the largely ceremonial title of president, though he will need cautious maneuvering to consolidate his power and build support from a public that is increasingly clamoring for change. The elevation of Xi to the presidency by the rubber-stamp national legislature gave him the last of the three titles held by his predecessor, Hu Jintao.
The move was expected after Xi was named head of the Communist Party and chairman of its military, positions of true power, last November in a once-a-decade handover to a new group of leaders that has been years in the making. "I'm very happy. With President Xi leading us, China will be more prosperous and more powerful," said one of some 3,000 delegates to the National People's Congress in Beijing's cavernous, red-carpeted Great Hall of the People. "This is welcomed by all."