President hails Deng Theory in first reshuffle since patriarch's death | South China Morning Post
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  • Mar 30, 2015
  • Updated: 12:41pm

President hails Deng Theory in first reshuffle since patriarch's death

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 September, 1997, 12:00am

Jiang Zemin completed his first major reshuffle of the Communist Party's ruling bodies in the wake of Deng Xiaoping's death, expanding the Politburo and its Standing Committee and retiring older members.

Following the new Central Committee's first meeting, the President led out its members for a brief press appearance in the Great Hall of the People shown live on television.

Only Mr Jiang spoke, vowing to hold high the banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory and introducing the new hierarchy one by one.

Prime Minister Li Peng retains his position as committee number two, Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji moves up from five to number three, while Li Ruihuan slips to fourth.

He is followed by the youngest member, Hu Jintao, 55, and the two new entrants, Wei Jianxing, 61, and Li Lanqing, 65.

Mr Wei remains chairman of the Party's powerful Central Disciplinary Inspection Committee after masterminding the purge of Chen Xitong, the former Beijing party boss.

Mr Li Lanqing is expected to continue a role he developed in the early 1980s in directing foreign trade and investment policies.

No mention or explanation was made for the two departing members, Qiao Shi, 73, and General Liu Huaqing, 81.

Mr Qiao might continue as Chairman of the National People's Congress until it meets in March. Mr Li Peng, who has already served two terms, is expected to take over, while Mr Zhu, 69, is likely to be the new prime minister.

With the departure of General Liu, the standing committee is for the first time an entirely civilian body, but Mr Jiang has promoted two generals to the Politburo: Chi Haotian, 68, and Zhang Wannian, 69.

Retiring from the Politburo is General Yang Baibing, 77, who together with his brother, Yang Shangkun, wielded great power after 1989.

Mr Jiang remains chairman of the Central Military Commission and has managed to persuade vice-chairman Zhang Zhen, 83, to step down, but he is retaining General Wang Ruilin, 68, the most trusted aide and secretary of Deng.

The Politburo has been enlarged from the current 19 members to 22, plus two alternative members. These are Wu Yi, the only female member of the leadership who has been responsible for foreign trade, and Zeng Qinghong, who runs Mr Jiang's office.

Apart from General Yang, Vice-Premier Zhou Jiahua, 71, also leaves the Politburo relinquishing the portfolio of science and technology.

Seven new members are being brought in - the two generals, two inner-party administrators, Wen Jiabao, 55, and Luo Gan, 62, and the party secretaries of three regions: Jia Qinglin, 57, Beijing's new leader, Li Changchun, 53, from Henan, and Wu Guanzheng, 59, who was placed in charge of Shandong earlier this year. By elevating the leaders of two populous but relatively backward inland provinces, Mr Jiang is demonstrating the emphasis being given to development of the Chinese interior.

But the new line-up also highlights the still growing importance of Shanghai, Mr Jiang's power base. Apart from the President, four other Politburo members have worked in the country's largest city, among them the current Party Secretary, Huang Ju.

Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, 69, retains his seat, although it is rumoured that he might also be replaced at next year's National People's Congress.

At 71, Mr Jiang may now be just about the oldest member in the leadership and has seemingly used age as a tool to persuade his elders to retire.

Those newly promoted are mostly university graduates in their 50s and unsullied by association with leftist excesses. With a Politburo staffed by younger technocrats, Mr Jiang may be able to push ahead with privatisation unencumbered by conflicts over ideology.


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