China's Xi praises Hu for voluntarily giving up power

BEIJING Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:07am EST

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and Xi Jinping, newly-elected general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, wave to delegates of the 18th National Congress of the CPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 15, 2012. REUTERS/China Daily

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and Xi Jinping, newly-elected general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, wave to delegates of the 18th National Congress of the CPC at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing November 15, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/China Daily

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's president-in-waiting Xi Jinping has praised his predecessor Hu Jintao for voluntarily stepping down from both his party and military posts, promising to uphold his legacy of defense modernization, state media said on Saturday.

Hu, who remains China's president until March's parliament session, relinquished the much more powerful post of Communist Party boss on Thursday at the close of the once-every-five-year congress that selects the party's new leadership line-up.

The question had loomed whether Hu would stay on as head of the powerful Central Military Commission, thereby preventing a full takeover of the party and armed forces by Vice President Xi.

Hu's predecessor Jiang Zemin remained chief of the military commission for two years after Hu took over as president and party boss.

"Chairman Hu, giving full consideration to the development of the party, country and military, voluntarily proposed no longer holding the positions of party general secretary or chairman of the military commission," the official Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying.

"The entire 18th Party Congress respected Chairman Hu's willingness (to step down), and agreed to his request," Xi said at a military commission meeting held on Friday.

"Chairman Hu's very important decision fully showed his deep consideration toward the development of the Party, the country and military, and fully showed his foresight as a Marxist statesman and strategist, and his broad mind and noble character," Xi added, using typically turgid communist phraseology.

Hu had made modernizing China's outdated, massive armed forces a key platform of his time in office, overseeing the launch of the country's first aircraft carrier and development of stealth fighters.

Xi said the military must "work hard to promote its revolutionary modernization".

He added that the party must "unswervingly" remain in control of military, reflecting the leadership's determination to ensure that the People's Liberation Army remains the ultimate shield of their authority.

"Ensuring the absolute leadership of the party over the military ... concerns the lasting stability of the party and the country," Xi said.

(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Ben Blanchard)

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Comments (2)
SpockV wrote:
If this turns out to be really true, Hu will be
remembered like George Washington in the US. Hope
he doesn’t rule from behind the curtains.

Nov 17, 2012 2:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DeanMJackson wrote:
The caption reads, “China’s Xi praises Hu for voluntarily giving up power”

The tile “Chairman” of the Chinese Communist Party is ceremonial at best, a front man; it has no intrinsic authority. The true power is the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. The Central Committee also picks the President. If a Chairman of the CPC “overstays” his designated tenure, that means the Central Committee wants the West to think their are disagreements within the CPC. Nothing more.

Since there are no free elections within Communist nations, never would there be a governmental system set up that gave supreme power to one individual. Communist nations in the past and present have certainly orchestrated events that gave outside observers the impression that individual presidents hold all the power. Of course, Western governments see through these games Communist nations play, pretending they believe the games for political/economic reasons.

Nov 17, 2012 10:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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