China marks 100th birth anniversary of former president Li Xiannian Wednesday, June 24, 2009

State President and Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao urged all Chinese people Tuesday to remember and study the morals and demeanour of former state president Li Xiannian (1909-1992).

Chinese President and Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao speaks at a memorial meeting to mark the 100th birthday of former state president Li Xiannian (1909-1992), in Beijing, China, June 23, 2009.  (Xinhua Photo)

Li won respect and love from the CPC, People's Liberation Army and people for his contribution to China's independence and the Chinese people's emancipation, China's socialist revolution, construction, reform and opening-up drive, and the building of the country into a modernized socialist nation that is prosperous, powerful, democratic and civilized, Hu said at a memorial meeting to mark Li's 100th birthday.

Hu called Li a "great proletarian revolutionary, statesman, strategist and a staunch Marxist and outstanding Party and State leader."

Other state and CPC leaders attending the memorial service included Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Zhou Yongkang. Jia presided over the gathering.

Hu spoke highly of Li's prominent role in different periods of the CPC-led Chinese revolution, including the armed revolution of the 1920s-40s, the early development of New China in the 1950s-70s,and the epochal reform and opening-up drive launched in the late 1970s.

Li was born into a poor peasant family on June 23, 1909, in Huang'an, Hubei Province, central China. He took part in the CPC-led Peasants' Movement and joined the Party in the 1920s.

In 1927, Li led a group of peasants to join in the Huangma Uprising. Later, he became a member of the CPC-led Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army and played an important role in strategic battles and maneuvers of the Red Army.

During the Long March, Li supported Zhu De and other senior leaders in resolute struggle against the splittist activities of Zhang Guotao.

In China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) and the Liberation War (1946-49) against the Kuomintang Regime, Li became a ranking officer in the CPC-led armed forces and fought a large number of major battles and established several revolutionary bases.

After 1949, the year the People's Republic of China was founded, Li served as vice premier for 26 years and played a big role in managing the economy. He was wrongly criticized and persecuted during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Starting in the late 1970s, as a core member of the second-generation of CPC leadership headed by Deng Xiaoping, Li assisted Deng in ushering in and carrying on the reform and opening-up drive.

In his final years in service, Li held top-level Party and state roles, including vice chairman of the CPC Central Committee, a Standing Committee member of the Political bureau of the CPC Central Committee, state president, and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan
Source: Xinhua