BEIJING, NOV. 1 (SUNDAY) -- China's senior leader, Deng Xiaoping, stepped down today from the Central Committee of the Communist Party, carrying out his promise to lead an exodus of aging leaders and rejuvenate the party.
The names of Deng and other older party leaders, including President Li Xiannian and economist Chen Yun, were missing from the list of 175 central Committee members announced at the closing session of the 13th National Party Congress.
The eight-day congress, the first such gathering in five years, has been a triumph for Deng, with few signs of the conservative resistance to his market-oriented reforms that surfaced earlier this year. The size of the Central Committee, the main policy-making body of the party, was reduced from 209, reflecting another Deng pledge to streamline party functions.
Deng, 83, has said frequently he hoped to leave several of his top posts to pave the way for younger leaders to carry forth the economic reforms he set in motion when he rose to power nine years ago.
Deng's protege Zhao Ziyang, the acting party chief and premier, was on the list of Central Committee members, as was Hu Yaobang, a reformer who was ousted as party chief last January following prodemocracy student unrest. However, national People's Congress Chairman Peng Zhen, 85, the most prominent opponent of Deng's reforms, and political ideologue Deng Liqun, another well-known conservative, were not listed.
Deng is expected to hold onto one post, as head of the Central Military Commission, and is certain to wield considerable influence on policy from behind the scenes.
Among the other prominent party members removed from the Central Committee were Army Chief of Staff Yang Dezhi, 78, marxist ideologue Hu Qiaomu, 75, and Politburo member Xi Zhongxun, 79.
Nearly 2,000 delegates met at the Great Hall of the People for today's closing session of the party congress. The Central Committee will hold its first meeting with its new members either today or Monday to name the Politburo and the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's highest decision-making body.