Xi Jinping likely to be designated the next President of China in 2012 and next five year plan to strengthen social safety net

Chinese vice president Xi Jinping was elected as the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) during the Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing on Monday, boosting the possibility that he may succeed after President Hu Jintao retires.

Known for his liberal policies, tough stance on corruption, and a frank openness about political and market economy reforms, Xi’s combination of positions makes him the heir presumptive to current General Secretary, President Hu Jintao and the emerging leader of the People’s Republic of China’s fifth generation of leadership.

The position of vice chairman at the Central Military Commission is a stepping stone on the way to becoming president. Chinese President Hu Jintao was also appointed to the position in 1999, where he served for the next three years before being elected president. Xi will serve in the post until the next Communist Party leadership meeting in 2012, when he is expected to be designated as the next leader.

The four-day session of the party’s Central Committee, which opened on Friday, also saw the announcement of a five-year economic development plan that puts more focus on the distribution of wealth rather than on economic expansion. The Chinese government is now expected to bolster social benefits, aid for senior citizens, state medical programs and other subsidies.

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