Beijing, Sept. 2 (Reuters): Chinese Vice-President Hu Jintao called on Communist Party officials today to back President Jiang Zemin’s political vision ahead of a Congress at which he is expected to take over from the 76-year old leader.
Diplomats said the speech — opening autumn semester at the Central Party School where China’s political elite receive mid-career training on the major tenets of Communism — would be routine at any other time, since Hu is school president.
But the event marked Hu’s first major speech since the November 8 start of the 16th Party Congress was announced last week. The meeting will set the stage for China’s ageing leadership, led by Jiang, to hand power to a younger generation.
Hu, widely seen as the man to succeed Jiang as party boss and President, extolled his “Three Represents” theory, which says the Party represents more than just the interests of workers and peasants and allows for entrepreneurs to enter its ranks.
Hu’s speech put the theory, which analysts expect to be enshrined in the Party constitution at the congress, on par with the political thought of chairman Mao Zedong and late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.
“He seems to be reiterating the current issues that the Chinese Communist Party is looking at and as such his remarks are probably quite a good indication of what are going to be the main themes of the Party Congress,” said a Western diplomat.
In the speech Hu also stressed “Party building”, maintaining stability, fighting corruption, forging ahead with economic development and helping those in poverty — all familiar planks of the party’s agenda in the build-up to the leadership reshuffle.