HOHHOT, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Xi Jinping was elected deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) by a unanimous vote at the first session of the 13th regional people's congress of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Tuesday.
Xi was nominated by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as a candidate for deputy to the 13th NPC, which was put to a vote at the regional congress.
The announcement of Xi's unanimous election won thunderous applause at the session.
Xi was among 58 deputies elected to the new NPC at the regional congress on Tuesday afternoon.
The unanimous vote for Xi by more than 500 deputies to the regional people's congress represents the heartfelt aspiration of more than 25 million residents in Inner Mongolia, the deputies said.
It is also a vivid demonstration of the loyalty to the core of the CPC and support of the people's leader by more than 1.3 billion Chinese from various ethnic groups, according to the deputies.
The 13th NPC will open its first annual session in Beijing on March 5.
Spanning across northern China, Inner Mongolia connects eight provincial regions, borders Russia and Mongolia, and is home to 55 ethnic groups.
Deputies said Xi's election in an ethnic minority border region showed a new ethos of the CPC Central Committee: maintaining a close tie with the people, advancing poverty alleviation, pushing for the Belt and Road Initiative and other key state programs.
"It [Xi's election] is a great honor for people in Inner Mongolia," a deputy said. "The Party Central Committee places great trust on us and cares so much about border and ethnic regions. We are motivated."
Some deputies recalled Xi's interaction with Inner Mongolia over the past few years.
In January 2014, Xi came for a work inspection.
"Braving severe cold on the prairie, he visited herders and poor families. I feel Xi has always been with us -- the ordinary people," said Hongyu, an ethnic Mongolian herder in Hulunbuir.
"I am extremely excited that Xi was unanimously elected here," said Sun Ming, a village Party chief. "Xi has asked us to build Inner Mongolia into an ecological safety barrier in northern China and so we should work -- preserving our forests to leave our children a beautiful homeland."
Tuya, a theatrical performer from the city of Ulanqab, recalled another episode of interaction with Xi.
Last November Xi wrote a letter to a troupe of Ulan Muqir (Red Bud Troupe), calling on them to promote literary and artistic innovation and continue producing excellent works.
Ulan Muqir is the Mongolian name for a traveling troupe that goes from one grazing site to another, performing for the herdsmen in some of the most remote areas.
"Xi urged the troupe to be a 'red literal cavalry' on the prairie. We are inspired and will work hard to send the Party's voices and care to the people," Tuya said.
Inner Mongolia has made great strides since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012.
The industrial structure is no longer over-reliant on coal, and is supported by various industries. Tourism witnessed a boom. The urbanization rate has surpassed 60 percent.
As of August 2017, 1.41 million people had been lifted out of poverty over the past five years, and basic medical insurance covered 98 percent of people from both urban and rural areas.
Deputies said that at the dawn of a new era, Inner Mongolia had embarked on a new development journey of poverty-reduction, economic transformation and green development.
They said it was "high time to march on under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and work hard to realize the great Chinese dream and build a shiny Inner Mongolia."