Qiao Shi celebrates his 75th birthday with family members, friends and Deng

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 January, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 January, 2000, 12:00am

FORMER National People's Congress chairman Qiao Shi yesterday celebrated his 75th birthday at a private party with Deng Pufang, eldest son of late patriarch Deng Xiaoping, and family members in Shenzhen.

The party started at 4pm with a short speech by Mr Qiao's eldest son, Simon Jiang, who kept the original surname of his father who changed his during the revolution.

'I hosted this party on behalf of my younger brother and sisters,' Mr Jiang said. 'Here, I would like to pay tribute to my parents' contribution to the revolution as well as their efforts in raising us all.' The party was held in Kirry Lin Villa, a Victorian-decorated resort for government leaders.

Mr Qiao, looking relaxed and in good health, drank a toast with Mr Deng, his wife and some 20 other guests.

The guests were mostly personal friends of Mr Qiao, along with staff and their families from Mr Jiang's Internet company in Shenzhen.

Mr Qiao said one of his birthday wishes was to see a more democratic China and a better legal system.

'I hope that in my lifetime, I can see China moving towards democracy and the rule of law.' The former member of the Politburo Standing Committee has stayed out of the limelight since resigning from his position as NPC chairman in March 1998.

He left the Politburo in September 1997. He does not currently hold any official position.

He said he spent most of last year travelling around China, accompanied by his wife, while his apartment in Beijing was being renovated.

He has recently been to Fujian, Jiangsu, and his home province of Zhejiang and is staying in Shenzhen for about two weeks during the New Year.

Mr Jiang said it was a happy coincidence that the family could celebrate the birthday on the first day of the new century.

While food and drinks were served during the function, most of the guests, especially children from the families of Mr Jiang's staff, went to have photographs taken with Mr Qiao and Mr Deng.

Mr Jiang's younger brother Qiao Xiaodong flew from Beijing to celebrate with Mr Qiao.