|In this file photo taken on July 21, 2011, Li Jianguo (R, Front) meets with locals during a visit to Nagqu, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)|
BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- A younger generation of elites from different political parties, ethnic groups and professional backgrounds are now taking to the center stage of the legislative leadership in China.
Nearly 3,000 lawmakers elected the new leadership of China's top legislature through secret ballots at a plenary meeting on Thursday.
Zhang Dejiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, was elected chairman of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC), replacing Wu Bangguo.
After the announcement of his election, Zhang stood up and bowed to NPC deputies, and then shook hands with Wu. The election was held at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
Born in northeast China's Liaoning Province in November 1946, Zhang studied economics at the Kim Il Sung University in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from 1978 to 1980.
He served as CPC secretary of Jilin, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces successively before he became vice premier in 2008. From March to November 2012, he also served as secretary of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee in the fallout of the investigation of an alleged corruption scandal against Bo Xilai.
Zhang was elected a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in November last year.
Assuming his new role as China's top legislator, Zhang will be assisted by 13 newly-elected vice chairpersons, namely Li Jianguo, Wang Shengjun, Chen Changzhi, Yan Junqi, Wang Chen, Shen Yueyue, Ji Bingxuan, Zhang Ping, Qiangba Puncog, Arken Imirbaki, Wan Exiang, Zhang Baowen and Chen Zhu.
Wang Chen was also elected secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee.
After the elections, a younger generation born after the founding of New China joined the top legislature leadership and take the center stage, including 56-year-old Shen Yueyue, the youngest vice chairperson.
With an average age of 62.8 years, the new NPC leadership members are two years younger on average than their predecessors when they took office five years ago.
The new NPC leadership lineup is made up of experienced ministers, well-trained CPC officials, regional leaders and heads of non-Communist parties who have shown their leadership capabilities in their previous positions.
According to the election results, CPC members take up eight of the 13-seat vice chairmanship of the top legislature, namely Li Jianguo, Wang Shengjun, Wang Chen, Shen Yueyue, Ji Bingxuan, Zhang Ping, Qiangba Puncog and Arken Imirbaki, while leaders of non-Communist parties take the remaining five seats.
The number of Communist vice-chairpersons of the top legislature remains the same as that of the 11th NPC Standing Committee.
Before their elections, most of the newly elected vice chairpersons had assumed posts of regional leaders and ministers, where they showed their experience and leadership capabilities.
Li Jianguo was one of the three people re-elected as vice chairpersons, along with Chen Changzhi, chairman of the Central Committee of the China National Democratic Construction Association, and Yan Junqi, chairwoman of the Central Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy.
Born into a farmer's family in April 1946, Li has assumed many community-level positions in Tianjin Municipality and once served as CPC secretary in Shaanxi and Shandong provinces before he was elected vice chairman of 11th NPC Standing Committee and secretary-general in 2008.
Also a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Li was elected chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions earlier this month, replacing Wang Zhaoguo.