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Communist Party Chief Named to Top Military Post

April 3, 1990

BEIJING (AP) _ Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin was chosen Tuesday to succeed senior leader Deng Xiaoping, his sponsor, in a top military post.

The National People’s Congress accepted Deng’s resignation from his last official government position last week and had been expected to pick Jiang for the job.

Jiang was the only candidate. He received 2,682 votes for chairman of the government Central Military Commission. Ten members of the parliament voted against him and 26 abstained.

One deputy wrote in Deng’s name and another entered that of President Yang Shangkun, a general with a strong following in the military.

Deng chose Jiang, 63, as his successor. In November, Jiang replaced him as head of the party Central Military Commission, a policy-making group with nearly the same membership as the government body.

The military has played an increasing political role since June 1989, when soldiers were called in to crush the pro-democracy movement in Beijing. Holding the two military jobs is crucial to Jiang’s leadership position.

Jiang, a relatively unknown Shanghai party boss, was named head of the 48- million-member Communist Party in June after the dismissal of Zhao Ziyang, who was accused of supporting the pro-democracy movement.

He has supported the hard-line policies of Deng and other party elders. Jiang has no political power base in Beijing.

Deng, 85, still is considered the most powerful man in China. He has described Jiang as the ″core″ of next-generation leaders and asked the military to give the new party chairman their full support.

Jiang has no experience in military affairs and the People’s Liberation Army remains dominated by such old revolutionaries as President Yang, 82, who was named first vice chairman of the party Central Military Commission in November. During vote-counting Tuesday in the Great Hall of the People, a crowd of deputies gathered around Hu Qili, a former member of the party Politburo Standing Committee who was purged along with Zhao for pro-student leanings.

Deputies extended warm greetings to Hu, asking for his signature and posing for pictures with him.

Hu, like Zhao, was stripped of all party posts. He escaped official criticism, however, and has been allowed to attend a few public functions.

Zhao, still a party member and parliamentary deputy, has not been seen since he went to Tiananmen Square on May 19 for a tearful meeting with students on hunger strike.

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