Identifying corruption and the ruling CPC's "divorce" from people among "severe challenges" facing the party, China's new supreme leader Xi Jinping today vowed to make every effort to address these problems.
"We will never rest on our laurels," 59-year-old Xi, who was formally appointed head of the Party which effectively meant that he would be replacing Hu Jintao as President, told the media at the ornate Great Hall of People here.
Under the new conditions, the party faces many severe challenges and "there are also many pressing problems within the Party that need to be resolved, particularly corruption, being divorced from the people, going through formalities and bureaucratism caused by some Party officials," he said.
"We must make every effort to solve these problems. The whole Party must stay on full alert," Xi said soon after taking charge of the CPC, the world's biggest political party with the reported membership of over 80 million.
"To address these problems, we must first of all conduct ourselves honourably. Our responsibility is to work with all the comrades in the Party to uphold the principle that the Party should supervise its own conduct and run itself with strict discipline, effectively solve major problems in the Party, improve our conduct and maintain close ties with the people," he said.
By doing so, the CPC will ensure that it will remain at the core of leadership in advancing the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Xi said.
In an event telecast live, Xi, who looked relaxed and confident, introduced his fellow Standing Committee members, who constituted the collective leadership of the party that would rule the country for the next ten years.
Only Xi and other Standing Committee members appeared on the stage as incumbent Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders formally retired after a decade-long stint in power at the conclusion of the 18th Party Congress here yesterday.
Corruption and Party reforms were identified as major challenges by Hu also in his speech earlier at the Congress, warning that China and CPC's hold on the country since 1949 may collapse if the issue of graft is not address.
While disgraced CPC leader Bo Xilai, who was expelled from the party following a major scandal, faced charges of sex, sleaze and graft, the CPC was reportedly holding an investigation into a New York Times story alleging that Wen's family had accumulated assets worth over USD 2.7 billion. There were also reports that alleged that Xi's extended family had accumulated vast assets.
In his wide-ranging speech touching on aspirations of the Chinese people, Xi said the Chinese citizens have an ardent love for life.
"They wish to have better education, more stable jobs, more income, greater social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions and a better environment," he said.
People want "their children to have sound growth, have good jobs and lead a more enjoyable life. To meet their desire for a happy life is our mission. It is only hard work that creates all happiness in the world," he said.
Without specifying ethnic unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang, which were restive with anti-Chinese sentiments, Xi said "to fulfil our responsibility, we will rally and lead the whole Party and the people of all ethnic groups in China in making continued efforts to free up our minds."
He pledged to carry out reform and opening up, further release and develop the productive forces, work hard to resolve the difficulties the people face in both work and life, and unwaveringly pursue common prosperity.
"We have taken on this important responsibility for the Party. Our Party is dedicated to serving the people. It has led the people in making world-renowned achievements, and we have every reason to take pride in these achievements," Xi said apparently referring to China emerging as the second largest economy.
Playing down expectations about his leadership, he said "we are well aware that the capability of one individual is limited. But when we are united as one, we will create an awesome power and we can certainly overcome all difficulties."
"One can only work for a limited period of time, but there is no limit to serving the people with dedication. Our responsibility is weightier than (China's famous mountain) Mount Tai, and our road ahead is a long one," he said.
Without directly referring to global apprehensions about China's rise, Xi said "just as China needs to learn more about the world, so does the world needs to learn more about China."
"I hope you will continue your efforts to deepen mutual understanding between China and the world," Xi told the partymen.