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Hu Qili Urged People Throughout Country to Help Change China With AM-China, Bjt

June 24, 1989

BEIJING (AP) _ Hu Qili rose quickly to the pinnacle of China’s leadership under the wings of former Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang, a man he once was expected to succeed.

But Hu was purged from the party Saturday in disgrace along with party chief Zhao Ziyang, both branded as too lenient on the student-led democracy movement the government crushed this month.

Two years ago, at the relatively young age of 58, Hu was promoted to the Communist Party Politburo’s Standing Committee, an elite group of five to six people who make up the most powerful decision-making body in China.

Hu gained prominence in the mid-1980s for championing the economic reforms initiated by senior leader Deng Xiaoping and traveling throughout the country urging people to help change China.

″We should be bold enough to break with some specific conclusions already proved through practice to be outdated or partly incorrect,″ he said in a speech in April 1986. ″Only by doing so can we uphold and develop Marxism, and push forward the Socialist cause.″

Starting in 1985, as he worked his way up from the party’s Central Committee to the Politburo, Hu began making public appearances and joined some important missions abroad. He also began standing in for senior leaders in dealings with visiting foreign dignitaries.

Hu visited Yugoslavia and West Germany, and he joined Hu Yaobang, Communist Party chief at the time, on a tour of five South Pacific nations. The two men are not related.

As the reform movement gained momentum, Hu solidified his standing under the tutelage of Hu Yaobang, prompting speculation he might succeed his mentor as party general secretary.

Then came the student unrest that led to Hu Yaobang’s ouster in 1987 and criticism that he appeared too sympathetic to protesters demanding political reforms. Hu Qili distanced himself from Hu Yaobang and later in the year became a member of the Politburo’s Standing Committee. But he had lost the prominence he gained as a champion of Deng’s fast-paced reforms.

Branded a capitalist follower during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, Hu was exiled to the countryside. His political comeback began in 1972 when he reappeared as a party functionary in Ningxia.

When Deng came to power in 1978, Hu was summoned to Beijing as Communist Youth League secretary and vice president of the prestigious Qinghua University. In 1980 Hu was elected mayor of Tianjin, China’s third-largest city, and served as director of the party’s general office in 1982-84.

He joined the party’s Central Committee and the Secretariat in 1982.

An engineer and graduate of Qinghua, Hu is married with two children. He was born in 1929 in the central province of Shaanxi.

In addition to pushing for reforms, Hu supported China’s efforts to open itself to the outside world.

Referring to party debate over the open-door policy, he said in a 1985 interview: ″I think it is very necessary for us to try to identify problems and overcome them in a timely fashion. We need fine-tuning from time to time.″

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