20 January 2018

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09/18/2004 china

Is Jiang Zemin stepping down?

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Sources in the Chinese capital revealed to AsiaNews that Jiang Zemin is going to step down tomorrow as chairman of the Central Military Commission, making way for President Hu Jintao to become the mainland's undisputed leader. The switch would complete the mainland's first peaceful transfer of power since 1949.

Today the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post said Mr Jiang, 78, handed in his resignation at the plenum of the Communist Party's Central Committee which began on Thursday. Quoting party sources, the paper said Committee members are expected to approve his resignation and elect Mr Hu as chairman tomorrow - the last day of the meeting - after which a formal announcement will be made. However,

Mr Jiang's resignation and Mr Hu's elevation would bring to a successful conclusion a transfer of power that began in November 2002 when Mr Jiang stood down as the party's secretary-general in favour of Mr Hu, who then took over the presidency from Mr Jiang in March last year.

Mr Hu, 61, will now have command over the party, the state and the armed forces.

Mr Jiang's resignation, was the subject of intense speculation in recent days.

But despite his retirement, Mr Jiang would probably continue to wield considerable influence behind the scenes. During his leadership, which started after the Tiananmen massacre,  he built up strong links with the entrepreneurs community and political personalities revolving around the so called "Shanghai clique". In the last few years he has appointed dozens of new army generals, leaving a heavy legacy  of faithful military personnel in the army.

At least five of the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee - the mainland's highest decision-making body - are considered close allies of Mr Jiang. They include the vice-president, vice-premier Huang Ju and the party's propaganda chief.

If Jiang steps down, it is very possible that  Vice-President Zeng Qinghong – a friend of Jiang - will be made a deputy chairman of the military commission at the plenum.

Mr Jiang's retirement is unlikely to produce any major changes in domestic or foreign policies. But as Mr Hu continues to consolidate his power and make his mark, subtle changes can be expected.

Jiang has always stressed an image of China as an international superpower, full of modernity and patriotism; Hu has proposed a Chinese leadership near to the poor and the farmers, with more flexibility towards Taiwan and cooperation in the international arena.

See also

11/10/2006 CHINA
Central Committee's plenum ends with 15 years worth of pledges
In a sign that not all is well in the land and that corruption is rampant, the in camera meeting's final communiqué talks about the need for ethics. The next party congress is scheduled for late next year. Hu's political rival, Zeng Qinghong, is tasked to organise the event.

11/10/2017 15:20:00 CHINA
The Party's Central Committee gives last touches to preparation for congressional meetings and praise for Xi Jinping

There is a report of the work done in five years, the amendment to the Constitution to include Xi Jinping's thought; a report on disciplinary inspections. China's economic successes over the past five years also published.

30/03/2006 CHINA
Activists, lawyers denounce new vote rigging in Taishi

Residents of the small village in Guangdong are pressing ahead with protests in their "struggle for democracy". Candidates defeated in local elections claim the polls were rigged. They are being defended by 30 of China's most famous lawyers.

01/09/2017 14:25:00 CHINA
The 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is set for 18 October

Xi Jinping is expected to be re-elected as general secretary and get his thoughts put into the party’s constitution, like Mao and Deng. With his anti-corruption campaign, he has eliminated personal enemies. His achievements are being promoted on TV and print.

05/03/2009 CHINA
Bao Tong: Absolute power of the Party will suffocate the people and the economy
A message from the leading pro-democracy dissident to the delegates of the National People’s Congress, which met today. The economic stimulus passed by the government needs oversight in order to avoid corruption, the impoverishment of migrant workers, pollution, and waste of resources. It is time to put limits on the absolute power of the Party, and to reevaluate the Tiananmen movement, wiped out by the violent massacre in 1989.

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