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Jiang Steps Down as Chinese Military Head - 2004-09-19


Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin has resigned his last official post as military chief, handing full power to his successor, President Hu Jintao.

The official Xinhua news agency says the Communist Party's Central Committee accepted the resignation of the 78-year-old former leader Sunday. It approved his 61-year-old successor to take over as chairman of the party's Central Military Commission.

Mr. Hu is already head of China's Communist Party and national President, so becoming military chief gives him the three most powerful positions in China. The change completes a historic leadership transition to a younger generation.

Xinhua reports that Mr. Jiang wrote in his resignation letter that Mr. Hu is "completely qualified" to lead the armed forces.

The move completes a transition to younger leaders, known as the "Fourth Generation" of leadership since the 1949 revolution.

Xinhua did not give a reason for Mr. Jiang's retirement. His term was to have run until 2007.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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