| President Jiang Zemin (left) with Prime Minister Zhu Rongji at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AFP)
Beijing, Sept. 30 (Reuters): Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji hailed the leadership of Communist Party boss Jiang Zemin today, marking the last National Day before a party Congress expected to see sweeping leadership changes.
At a banquet marking the 53rd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Zhu also blasted politicians in rival Taiwan who he said had advocated the island’s formal independence. China considers Taiwan a rebel province.
“Practice proves that the series of policy decisions made by the (party’s) Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at the core are entirely correct,” Zhu told an audience of more than 1,000 people, including top party and military leaders.
Zhu, Jiang, parliament chief Li Peng and other senior leaders are expected to relinquish their party posts at the 16th Party Congress scheduled to begin on November 8 to make way for a younger administration.
However, in recent weeks there has been speculation in the capital Beijing and among China watchers that Jiang is angling to stay on, upsetting plans for an orderly succession.
Seated at the head table with Jiang, Zhu, Li and the other older leaders were several of the figures expected to take over from them, including Vice-President Hu Jintao and Vice-Premiers Wen Jiabao and Wu Bangguo.
Zhu highlighted Jiang’s headline political theory, the “Three Represents”, which aims to modernise the party by formally allowing private entrepreneurs in for the first time and is expected to be enshrined in the party charter at the Congress.
“We will conscientiously implement the important concept of the ‘Three Represents’ and... safeguard the overall interests of reform, development and stability, build on our achievements and do solid work in an effort to accomplish all the tasks set for this year,” he said.