BEIJING — Xi Jinping, China's vice president, was named to an important military position Monday, continuing his elevation to the top echelons of China's leadership and reconfirming that the Communist Party had selected him as the successor to President Hu Jintao.
Xi, pronounced "she," is a provincial governor who emerged as the heir apparent in 2007 when he received a senior rank on the Politburo Standing Committee. On Monday he was named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, which oversees the People's Liberation Army and its branches. The post fills the last remaining gap in Xi's resume and means that he is following the succession track that Hu took a decade ago on his way to assuming China's top party, state and military titles.
Barring a major upset, Xi, 57, is now on track to become Communist Party secretary when Hu's term ends in 2012, and president in 2013.
China's state media announced Xi's promotion at the conclusion of a Communist Party planning meeting, in which about 370 Central Committee members and alternates approved a five-year plan for governing China though 2015.
The planning session was watched closely for indications that members would consider a recent spate of demands for greater individual freedoms. Instead, the party report focused on exploiting "strategic opportunities" to sustain the rapid economic growth that has powered China's global ascendancy.
In the vaguely worded document, the committee promised to undertake a broad transformation of the nation's economy in the next five years, shifting its emphasis to domestic consumption and building high-technology industries into a driving force behind economic growth.