Hu Jintao succeeded Jiang Zemin as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Fourth Plenum of the 16th CPC Central Committee, which concluded Sunday.
The four-day plenum approved Hu to take over the CMC chairmanship after accepting Jiang's resignation.
The plenum approved Xu Caihou, 61, as CMC vice-chairman.
The plenum also approved Chen Bingde, Qiao Qingchen, Zhang Dingfa and Jing Zhiyuan as CMC members.
Hu, 61, is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and president of China. He was vice-chairman of the CMC previously.
Jiang, 78, had held the CPC's top military position since November 1989.
Jiang, after serving as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee for 13 years, bowed out of the Party Central Committee at the 16th CPC National Congress held in Beijing in November 2002.
He went on to relinquish the state presidency he had held for 10 years at the annual full session of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, in March 2003. Hu took over both positions.
"The plenum unanimously agreed that this (Hu's becoming CMC chairman) is conducive to upholding the fundamental principle and system of the Party's absolute leadership over the military, and is also conducive to the strengthening of the military's revolutionization, modernization and regularization process," said a communique released after the closing of the plenum.
The communique also noted that the plenum had "highly evaluated Comrade Jiang Zemin's outstanding contributions to the Party, the state and the people."
"In the 13 years from the Fourth Plenum of the 13th CPC Central Committee to the 16th CPC National Congress, under the extremely complicated international and domestic situation, the third-generation central collective leadership of the Party with Comrade Jiang Zemin at the core had held high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory, unswervingly adhered to the Party's basic lines, rallied and led the entire Party and people of all ethnic groups across the country ... to score remarkable achievements in pushing forward the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics," the communique said.
In the past 15 years as he served as the CMC chairman, the communique said, Jiang had "grasped the development trends of new military reforms in the world with his great insight" and had enriched the army building ideas of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping to "found the Jiang Zemin thought for national defense and army building."
"Under his leadership, (China's) national defense and army modernization process had achieved tremendous success," it added.
The communique also highly praised Jiang for founding the "Important Thought of Three Represents" after pooling the wisdom of the entire Party.
"The Important Thought of Three Represents is the latest outcome of the localization of Marxism in China, as well as a fundamental guideline for the realization of the magnificent goal of building a relatively affluent society in an all-round way," said the communique.
"It (the Three Represents thought) must be implemented in all areas of China's socialist modernization drive and be reflected in all aspects of Party building," it added.
In a letter to the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee dated Sept. 1, Jiang formally requested to resign the CMC chairmanship, saying that he "had always looked forward to the complete retirement from leading positions" for the good of the long-term development of the cause of the Party and the people.
"Practice has proved that the central collective leadership elected at the Party's 16th National Congress and the First Plenum of the 16th Party Central Committee is able and competent, and can stand the test of reform, opening-up and complicated situation," said Jiang in the letter, adding that he had decided to resign after "meticulous consideration."
Jiang proposed in his letter that Hu take over the CMC chairmanship, saying that "Comrade Hu Jintao is absolutely qualified for this post" and that "this is also conducive to upholding the fundamental principle and system of the Party's absolute leadership over the military."
He said he would also submit a request to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, for resignation from the post of chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China.
Jiang also said that he would "always give allegiance to the cause of the Party and the state" and "always be a loyal member of the Chinese Communist Party".
A decision passed at the plenum regarding the acceptance of Jiang's resignation said that Jiang's move had "fully displayed his foresight about the development of the cause of the Party and the state," and "his broad-mindedness as a true Communist."
The document also noted that since the First Plenum of the 16th CPC Central Committee at which Jiang was asked to stay as the Party's military chief, Jiang had "given full support to the work of the Party's new central collective leadership with Comrade Hu Jintao as general secretary," and had "whole-heartedly performed the duty bestowed on him by the Party Central Committee."
(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2004)