Xi Jinping talks with local villagers and cadres at Shibadong Village in Paibi Township of Huayuan County in the Tujia-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Xiangxi, central China's Hunan Province, Nov. 3, 2013. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
As ceremonial music echoed throughout the Great Hall of the People, Xi Jinping took his place on the podium. [Special coverage]
The music stopped as he reached a large red-bound copy of the country's Constitution.
The 64-year-old, in a dark suit, placed his left hand on the Constitution, raised his right hand to his temple and made a fist of solidarity.
"I pledge my allegiance to the Constitution," Xi began.
"[To] safeguard the Constitution's authority, fulfill my legal obligations, be loyal to the country and the people, be committed and honest in my duty, accept the people's supervision and work hard for a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful."
He bowed, and the nearly 3,000 National People's Congress (NPC) deputies reacted with a spontaneous burst of thunderous applause.
It was the first time a Chinese president had ever taken such an oath upon assuming office. The ceremony was watched by tens of millions of Chinese on television or on their smartphones.
On Saturday, Xi was unanimously elected as president of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and chairman of the Central Military Commission of the PRC.
Xi first took over the presidency five years ago, pledging to push forward the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and strive for great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
"In face of the mighty trend of the times and earnest expectations of the people for a better life, we cannot have the slightest complacency, or get the slightest slack at work," he said back then.
China has made historic achievements under Xi's leadership. The unanimous vote shows the strong support he enjoys among the people.
Nearly five months ago, Xi was re-elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. The Party's 19th National Congress enshrined in the CPC Constitution Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
The thought was added into the country's Constitution at the 13th NPC session as a guiding principle of the state. People have high expectations for the years ahead. The blueprint laid out at the Party congress is being turned into action plan.
"HAPPINESS COMES OUT OF ARDUOUS WORK"
Led by Xi, China is becoming strong.
The size of the economy has expanded to more than 82 trillion yuan (around 13 trillion U.S. dollars) from 54 trillion yuan over the past five years, growing by 7.1 percent a year on average. More than 66 million urban new jobs have been created.
The economy is healthier. Xi's supply-side structural reform worked. Consumption has become a major growth driver, contributing to 58.8 percent of economic growth last year, up from 54.9 percent five years ago. The share of service sector has climbed to 51.6 percent from 45.3 percent.
People live a more comfortable life. More than 68 million people escaped poverty. Personal income increased by 7.4 percent annually on average. Life expectancy reaches 76.7 years, leading developing countries.
The environment improves as strict rules on water, soil and air pollution control have been enforced. A remarkable change: over the five years, the number of heavily-polluted days in major cities was halved.
Xi made this happen through reform. He is regarded as the chief architect. In the five years, more than 1,500 reform measures were issued, affecting economic, political, social, cultural, environmental fields, national defense and Party building. Government red tape was cut. Foreign investment was made easier.
Xi has said happiness comes out of arduous work.
A week after the 19th Party congress, Xi took leading officials to the Party's birthplace in Shanghai and Zhejiang, a "roots-tracing" trip to remind cadres of the Party's original aspiration.
"The CPC seeks happiness for the Chinese people," Xi said in an NPC session panel discussion. "Whatever issues the people are unhappy about or dissatisfied with, we must work hard to solve them."
Xi's deep connection to the people was formed early in his life.
Son of a revolutionary leader, Xi, at the age of 15, joined numerous "educated youth" bidding farewell to urban life and heading to the countryside to learn from peasants.
Xi was sent to a small, isolated village in Shaanxi Province and stayed on for seven years. These formative years taught him the real situation on the ground and shaped his belief in pragmatic approach and the mass line.
In the following decades, Xi rose from the grassroots to the very top. His work experience in the military, a poor rural county, and wealthy coastal regions enriched his leadership skills.
Xi entered the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in 2007 and was elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in 2012. He has become the core of the CPC Central Committee and the whole Party.