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The Three Newcomers

October 20, 1992| Times wire services

The three new members of the top leadership of China's Communist Party:

The economic troubleshooter:

Vice Premier Zhu Rongji, 64: Zhu has been likened by some Westerners to former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev because of his easy manner and willingness to break with old ways of doing business. However, there is no indication that he shares Gorbachev's political beliefs. Zhu has been designated the country's economic troubleshooter since becoming vice premier last year. Earlier this year, he was given the thorny task of straightening out the chains of debt among state-owned enterprises. A graduate of China's most prestigious technical university, he has served in various capacities in national production and state planning offices. He was appointed Shanghai deputy party secretary in 1987 and became mayor the following year.

The war veteran

Gen. Liu Huaqing, 76: Vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, he has close ties with Deng going back to the Chinese-Japanese and civil wars of the 1930s and 1940s. Liu is a decorated veteran of the two conflicts. He was in uniform when the Standing Committee met with reporters on Monday and stood at attention through the 10-minute meeting, unsmiling and staring straight ahead. He has been involved in arms research and development and was chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army in the early 1980s.

The 'young man'

Hu Jintao, 49: Former party secretary of Tibet, he offers the fresh face the party has been searching for to change its image as a clique of white-haired men. Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin introduced him to reporters on Monday, saying, "And we have a young man, not quite 50, only 49." Hu's appointment was a surprise because he has not held a major national post before. He oversaw harsh crackdowns on anti-Chinese, pro-independence protesters in Tibet in 1988 and 1989 and has spent most of the past few years out of sight in Beijing, reportedly because Tibet's high altitude made him ill.

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