China's parliament concluded its annual session today after a smooth installation of new legislature and state leaders who pledged for further reform and development in pursuit of "Chinese dream."
Nearly 3,000 national lawmakers voted to elect or endorse the country's legislative, state, military and judicial leaders including president, top legislator, premier and cabinet ministers.
In his first public speech as Chinese president, Xi Jinping said today that Chinese people should enhance the confidence in socialism with Chinese characteristics and make persistent efforts to realize the "Chinese dream."
The Chinese dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation "is a dream of the whole nation, as well as of every individual," he said, adding that all Chinese deserve common opportunities of enjoying a wonderful life.
To realize the dream, China must take the Chinese way, or the way of socialism with Chinese characteristics, said Xi, who was elected the state president on Thursday, replacing Hu Jintao.
Xi vowed to honestly fulfill his duties given by the Constitution, saying his election means "glorious mission" and "profound responsibilities."
"I will be always loyal to our motherland, be loyal to the people and dedicate all my time and energy to my duties and responsibilities to serve the people," Xi said.
"I will never let you down and will live up to the trust and expectations of people of all ethnics," Xi said.
In his speech, Xi called for fostering the "Chinese spirit," which features patriotism, and uniting the people as a form of "Chinese strength."
Observers said the concept of the "Chinese dream" is based on the leadership's understanding of China's reality and their vision of the country's future.
After three decades of rapid economic growth, the world's most populous country now becomes the second largest economy. However, "people's happiness is not only measured by their incomes, but also the possibility for them to pursue a dignified life," said Professor Wu Zongmin with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
"In a nation with a long and glorious history that also suffered humiliation and poverty for more than a century, people need inspiration and hope for a bright future," he said.
Sun Xianzong, an NPC deputy and research fellow with the Institute of Law, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the "Chinese dream" is also a signal to the rest of the world that China intends to maintain stability, realize sustainable growth, improve social justice and emerge in a constructive way.
TOP LEGISLATOR VOWS RULE OF LAW
The closing meeting, held at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing, was presided over by Zhang Dejiang, the newly-elected chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.
In a speech delivered at the meeting, Zhang pledged to push forward the rule of law and improve supervision over administrative and judicial power.
"It is a primary task for people's congresses at all levels, as well as their standing committees, to uphold the rule of law and safeguard the authorities of the Constitution and the law," Zhang said.
"We need to make sure that the system and law will not change due to the leadership switch, nor due to variations of the personal opinions and focuses of the leadership," he said.
The 66-year-old member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee replaces Wu Bangguo, who served as the country's top legislator for the past decade.
A new leadership lineup that includes 13 vice chairpersons and a Standing Committee consisting of 161 members was also elected.
At today's meeting, the NPC adopted a number of important documents, including a government work report, central and local budgets and a national economic and social development plan for 2013.
It also adopted the work reports of the 11th NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
PREMIER PROMISES REFORM
During the session, lawmakers endorsed Li Keqiang as premier, as well as endorsed a cabinet of four vice premiers, five state councilors and 25 ministers.
It also adopted a restructuring plan that reduces the number of ministries under the State Council from 27 to 25, with the dismantling of the bulky Ministry of Railways and mergers among several other government departments.
Shortly after the session closed, Li made his debut as the premier in front of global press, promising to press ahead with comprehensive reforms, as the country is seeking new momentum for development that does not depend on a large labor force.
"However deep the water may be, we will wade into it because we have no alternative," Li said.
In pushing forward reform, the new premier called for "courage, wisdom and tenacity" that policymakers can absorb from the people to make solid progress and pursue comprehensive reforms that cover all sectors.
He outlined key tasks and priorities in driving the reform forward, including those areas for reform that will make immediate and sustained impact.
Li vowed to accelerate economic transformation, make full use of fiscal, financial and pricing and other policy instruments, and pursue reforms of the budgetary system to make it more open, transparent, standardized and inclusive.
To improve people's well-being, Li noted, the government needs to reform the income distribution system and narrow the gap between urban and rural areas that involves 800 million rural residents and over 500 million urban residents, as well as bridge the gap between different regions.
"In advancing reform, the important thing is to take action," he said, "Talking the talk is not as good as walking the walk."