Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the closing meeting of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 17, 2013. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
Newly-elected Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday saluted his predecessor Hu Jintao, saying Hu deserves heartfelt gratitude and respects for his outstanding contribution to the country over the past decade.
"Comrade Hu Jintao has established outstanding merits for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, with his rich political wisdom, skilled leadership capabilities and diligence," Xi said in his keynote speech at the closing meeting of the first annual session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC).
His remarks was interrupted by a long applause from nearly 3,000 NPC deputies in salute to Hu, who served as Chinese president over the past decade.
Hu rose and bowed to the deputies.
"Hu has won the heartfelt love from all ethnic groups in China and applause from international communities," Xi said.
Xi was elected Chinese president on Thursday to replace Hu.