At the 16th congress of the Chinese Communist Party held in Beijing in November, President Jiang Zemin retired as head of the Communist Party to be replaced, as expected, by his protï¿½gï¿½ Vice-President Hu Jintao. The party described the handover as its first rule-based transfer of power.
At the same time, Li Peng, Chairman of the National People's Congress and Premier Zhu Rongji, along with Jiang and three other members of the old Politburo Standing Committee, have resigned from the party's Central Committee. Jiang managed to get several supporters promoted to the standing committee, which was expanded to nine members, including his closest adviser Zeng Qinghong. Jiang will also remain as chairman of the party's Central Military Commission, the body that controls China's armed forces.
Nearly half of the more than 300 full and alternate members of the Central Committee have been replaced, allowing both Hu and Jiang to promote more of their nominees to membership. New members also include a strengthened representation of technocrats and even business people, including the committee's first entrepreneur, Zhang Ruimin, chief executive of Haier Group, China's top manufacturer of electrical home appliances.
After the congress, the entire general staff of the People's Liberation Army was replaced, reported Xinhua. The reshuffle includes the appointment of a new chief of general staff – 62-year-old General Liang Guanglie, who was previously head of Nanjing Military Region.