Xi Jinping was named China’s president Thursday by the country’s parliament, one of the final steps in China’s once-in-a-decade leadership change.
Four months after taking over as General Secretary of the Communist Party, Xi replaces outgoing leader Hu Jintao after a formal vote of about 3,000 deputies at the National People’s Congress (NPC).
The vote, largely a rubber stamp that completes the highly choreographed leadership transition, was unanimous.
Jinping has a long history with Iowa. He first visited a farm in Muscatine in 1985 and again in 2012 when on a state visit as Vice President. He also attended a banquet hosted by Governor Branstad at the State House attended by over 550 people from government and business.
China is the largest buyer of U.S. agricultural products with $14.7 billion in 2011.
Governor Branstad at the time said, “So many Iowans are pleased that a man we befriended those many years ago, has risen to such a position of prominence and respect in the great nation of China.”
Although not all Iowans where impressed. Around 400 people protested the visit due to what they saw as human rights abuses in Tibet.
Xi was also named chairman of the state Central Military Commission. “He has had a stronger military relationship than either of his two predecessors — Jiang Zeman and Hu Jintao — when they began, so Xi comes in with a really strong position and he needs it,” Robert Lawrence Kuhn, author of “How China’s Leaders Think,” told CNN.
Additional reporting by CNN.