The Communist Party of China (CPC) elected a new central leadership and endorsed a political declaration to chart the country's development as it closed the 17th national congress yesterday.
At the closing session presided over by CPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao, 2,235 delegates and specially invited guests elected 204 full members and 167 alternate members of the 17th CPC Central Committee.
The week-long congress, hailed by Hu as symbolizing "unity, victory and progress", also elected a 127-member Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and adopted three key resolutions.
Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin and Li Changchun - all members of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the 16th CPC Central Committee - remain in the new central committee, while Zeng Qinghong, Wu Guanzheng and Luo Gan did not.
Among the newly elected central committee members are prominent local Party leaders including Chongqing's Wang Yang and Jiangsu's Li Yuanchao, and newly-appointed ministers including foreign affairs minister Yang Jiechi and Sun Zhengcai, minister of agriculture.
The new CPC leadership was elected by secret ballot and delegates broke into thunderous applause when the results were announced.
"It is natural for the central leadership to transit from the old to the new. While bearing in mind the contribution made by old Party leaders, we also thank them for stepping down voluntarily and making room for younger and more energetic ones," Zhang Shaonong, a delegate from Gansu Province, told China Daily after the congress.
As is customary, the new CPC central committee holds its first plenary session today - following the conclusion of the national congress.
According to the CPC Constitution, the plenum elects members and alternate members of its political bureau, and members of the political bureau standing committee.
The general secretary shall be chosen from members of the political bureau standing committee.
The congress yesterday also approved the report made by Hu on behalf of the 16th CPC Central Committee, and expressed great appreciation for the work of the 16th CPC Central Committee.
In a resolution endorsed by the congress, the delegates hailed the report as "a political declaration and a program of action for the Party".
"The report provides scientific answers to major questions for the Party at a crucial stage of China's reform and development, such as what banner it should hold, what path it should take," it said.
The congress stressed that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the great banner guiding development and progress in contemporary China and rallying the Party and people of all ethnic groups in a common endeavor.
The resolution said the congress agrees with the direction mapped in the report for China's socialist economic, political, cultural and social development.
The Party must improve itself in a spirit of reform and innovation to stand in the forefront of the times, and attach great importance to combating corruption, the resolution said.
The congress emphasized the need to thoroughly apply the Scientific Outlook on Development, saying it is an important guiding principle for economic and social development.
The congress unanimously agreed to integrate the Scientific Outlook on Development together with other innovative theories into the Party Constitution in another resolution.
The third resolution adopted at yesterday's meeting said the congress examined and approved the Work Report of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and fully affirmed the work of the commission.
After the congress completed its agenda, Hu delivered a speech amid warm applause.
"History will prove that the major policy decisions and arrangements the congress made and its important achievement are of vital strategic significance and will play an extremely important guiding role in comprehensively advancing the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the great new undertaking to build the Party," he said.