Continued from Part 3
Deng's health deteriorated in the years prior to his death in 1997. During that time, Party General Secretary and P.R.C. President Jiang Zemin and other members of his generation gradually assumed control of the day-to-day functions of government. This "third generation" leadership governed collectively with Jiang at the center.
In the fall of 1987, Jiang was re-elected Party General Secretary at the 15th Party Congress, and in March 1998 he was re-elected President during the 9th National People's Congress. Premier Li Peng was constitutionally required to step down from that post. He was elected to the chairmanship of the National People's Congress. The reform-minded pragmatist Zhu Rongji was selected to replace Li as Premier.
In November 2002, the 16th Communist Party Congress elected Hu Jintao as the new General Secretary. In 1992 Deng Xiaoping had informally designated Hu Jintao as the leading figure among the "fourth generation" leaders. A new Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee was also elected in November.
In March 2003, General Secretary Hu Jintao was elected President at the 10th National People's Congress. Jiang Zemin retained the chairmanship of the Central Military Commission. At the Fourth Party Plenum in September 2004, Jiang Zemin retired from the Central Military Commission, passing the Chairmanship and control of the People's Liberation Army to President Hu Jintao.
The Chinese Communist Party’s 17th Party Congress, held in October 2007, saw the elevation of key “fifth generation” leaders to the Politburo and Standing Committee, including Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Yuanchao, and Wang Yang. At the National People’s Congress plenary held in March 2008, Xi was elected Vice President of the government, and Li Keqiang was elected Vice Premier. The 18th Party Congress is scheduled to be held in the fall of 2012. It is expected that President Hu Jintao, in keeping with precedent, will step down as the party's General Secretary at that time, and the Congress will elect the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Continued in Part 5: Human Rights
Deng billboard image is in the public domain and was obtained from Wikimedia Commons