• Kyodo


Chinese President Jiang Zemin will resign from his key posts in the fall of 2002, newspapers reported Friday.

Jiang will resign not only as head of state and head of the Chinese Communist Party but also as military chief, according to Xinbao, a Hong Kong newspaper, and other newspapers.

The resignation of Jiang, 75, will lead to a total shakeup and generational change of the Chinese leadership.

Vice President Hu Jintao, 58, is expected to take over from Jiang as head of state, party leader and military chief.

At present, Hu, a member of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, is also serving as vice military chief.

The decision was made during a recent unofficial meeting of Chinese Communist Party officials at the seaside resort of Beidaihe in Hubei Province.

Jiang’s resignation will come during the Communist Party’s 16th convention to be held in the fall of 2002.

The newspaper reports contradict assumptions that Jiang would stay on as military chief to continue to exercise influence.

Together with Jiang, Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, 72; Li Peng, 72, chief of the National People’s Congress, and Wei Jianxing, 70, secretary of the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, will resign as members of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee. Zeng Qinghong, 62; Wen Jiaobao, 58; Wu Bangguo, 60 and Luo Gan, 66, are expected to join the Politburo Standing Committee.

Zeng, a close ally of Jiang, is expected to be appointed vice head of state, and Wen, linked to financial and agricultural reform, is expected to become prime minister.

Li Ruihuan, 66, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, is expected to become chief of the National People’s Congress.

He will retain his post in the Politburo Standing Committee.

Li Lanqing, 69, who is now vice prime minister, is expected to become chairman of the conference.

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