TODAY   |  November 15, 2012

Xi Jinping makes debut as China’s new leader

China’s ruling Communist Party has selected Xi Jinping as the country’s new leader. Xi faces a faltering economy, environmental issues, demands for political reforms, as well as rampant corruption and public cynicism. NBC’s Ian Williams reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> after months of mystery, china's communist party has now unveiled its new leadership. ian williams is in beijing . good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning to you, matt. china's communist party today selected the man who will run this country for the next ten years. the process here couldn't be more different than what we've seen in the u.s.

>> welcome the standing committee members.

>> reporter: this was the high point of china's leadership selection. the seven men set to take over the running of this country paraded out in matching gray suits in order of seniority after a secretive selection process . at the helm, ping, although little is known about what he stands for.

>> he's the person who is acceptable to all the factions. he's not a charismatic figure, he doesn't like to take risks.

>> reporter: his selection comes at the end of a week long party congress though chosen well before this. he's a son of a prominent revolutionary who has worked his way up through the party. in the public eye , he has been overshadowed by his wife, a popular singer , though she'll now take a backseat. unlike the u.s., active first ladies aren't encouraged here. this whole process is a world away from the u.s. election . there have been widespread public indifference, though the authorities have targeted china's lively social media , slowing internet speeds and blocking searches for the words 18th congress .

>> they don't want any surprise happen during the party congress .

>> security across beijing has been stepped up. they've even banned carrier pigeons from the city. the communist party taking no chances. the selection is only the second leadership change since the communists took power in 1949 , but china faces enormous challenges, a faltering economy and demands for political reform as well as rampant party corruption and public cynicism. today, shi seemed to recognize the challenges he's facing.

>> corruption, taking bribes, addressed with great effort.

>> reporter: but he gave few clues as to how he'll go about tackling them. no clues either as to how he might approach the u.s. relationship, arguably the world's most important, and which has been under strain, matt.

>> ian williams in beijing . just