NPC 2018: Vice-Premier Wang Yang elected chief of China's top political advisory body

Vice-Premier Wang Yang received 2,144 votes out of the total 2,144 ballots cast for the election of CPPCC office-holders. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - Vice-Premier Wang Yang was elected China's top political adviser on Wednesday (March 14), scoring an unprecedented unanimous vote at the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) now underway in Beijing.

He received 2,144 votes out of the total 2,144 ballots cast for the election of CPPCC office-holders.

His vote count of 100 per cent is higher than that of outgoing CPPCC chairman Yu Zhengsheng, who received a record 99.7 per cent of the votes cast in 2013.

Mr Wang's duties as the CPPCC chairman include overseeing cross-strait ties with Taiwan and dealing with affairs related to the religious groups and ethnic minorities in China. All 56 ethnic groups in China are represented in the nation's top advisory body, according to the CPPCC.

Mr Wang, 63, was elevated to the Chinese Communist Party's apex Politburo Standing Committee during last October's 19th Party Congress and is ranked fourth in the party leadership hierarchy.

He is aligned with Premier Li Keqiang, who is ranked second in the leadership hierarchy, and former president Hu Jintao, having risen through the party ranks from the Chinese Communist Youth League.

During his five-year tenure as vice-premier from 2013, Mr Wang had been active in foreign affairs, often accompanying Chinese President Xi Jinping or Premier Li on overseas trips.

Last July, he led the Chinese delegation to the first US-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue held in Washington.

Before taking on his role at the State Council, Mr Wang was the party boss of Chongqing municipality and economic powerhouse Guangdong.

He had advocated a relatively liberal set of social, economic and political policies, known as the "Guangdong model", when he was in charge of the southern industrial province from 2007 to 2012.

This has earned him a reputation of being a liberal and a reformer.

Twenty-four CPPCC vice-chairmen were also elected on Wednesday. They include newly elected Mr He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, and former Hong Kong chief executives Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying. Mr Tung has held the position since 2005 while Mr Leung was elected in March last year.

The annual CPPCC session opened on March 3 and closes on March 15. It runs alongside the annual session of the National People's Congress which closes on March 20.

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