Portrait of Li Peng, former chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee. Li died of illness in Beijing at the age of 91 at 11:11 p.m. Monday, an official statement said Tuesday. (Xinhua)
BEIJING, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Li Peng, former chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, died of illness in Beijing at the age of 91 at 11:11 p.m. Monday, an official statement said Tuesday.
He had served as premier, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 13th, 14th and 15th central committees of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a member of the Political Bureau and member of the Secretariat of the 12th CPC Central Committee, according to an obituary notice jointly issued by the CPC Central Committee, the NPC Standing Committee, the State Council and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Li was extolled in the statement as an excellent Party member, a time-tested and loyal communist soldier and an outstanding proletarian revolutionist, statesman and leader of the Party and the state.
Li was born in October 1928 and was from Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. Son of a revolutionary martyr, he joined the revolutionary cause in Yan'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province in March 1941 and became a CPC member in November 1945.
During the Chinese People's War of Liberation, Li worked at the frontline and in September 1948, he was sent to study in the Soviet Union.
Upon his return home in 1955, he volunteered to work at the primary posts and during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), although being affected, he demonstrated a commitment to Party principles.
From April 1979, Li served as vice minister and then minister of power industry and vice minister of water resources and power. He was a prominent leader of the country's power industry and a key pioneer in the nuclear power sector.
Li was appointed vice premier in June 1983 and co-opted member of the Political Bureau and member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee at the fifth plenary session of the 12th CPC Central Committee in September 1985.
Li was elected member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee at the first plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee in November 1987, and in the same month he was appointed acting premier.
In April 1988, Li was appointed premier at the first session of the seventh NPC. He resolutely carried out policies of improving the economic environment and deepening reform and explored new means and methods for economic macro-control to push the economy out of difficulties and into a new period of development.
Amid the political disturbance between spring and summer in 1989, with the resolute support of the older generation of proletarian revolutionists with Comrade Deng Xiaoping as the representative, Li took a clear stance and he, along with most of the members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made decisive moves to stop the turmoil, end the counter-revolutionary riot and stabilize domestic situation and played an important role in the major struggle concerning the future and fate of the Party and the state.
After the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee in June 1989, Li, as an important member of the CPC central collective leadership with Comrade Jiang Zemin at the core, had been holding high the banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the Theory of Three Represents and implementing the Party's lines, principles and policies since the third plenary session of the 11th CPC Central Committee.
Li was re-elected a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee at the first plenary session of the 14th CPC Central Committee in October 1992.
He was re-appointed premier at the first session of the eighth NPC in March 1993.
After Deng made his speech during the inspection tour in southern China in early 1992, Li had actively supported, promoted and implemented the reform and opening-up ideas of Deng, resolutely implemented the spirit of the Party's 14th National Congress, sped up the reform of the socialist market economy, furthered opening up and strengthened and improved macro-regulation.
He was re-elected member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee at the first plenary session of the 15th CPC Central Committee in September 1997.
In March 1998, he was elected chairman of the NPC Standing Committee at the first session of the ninth NPC.
After assuming positions with the central authorities, Li concurrently served as chief of various committees and leading groups and devoted great efforts to the fields of science and technology, education, environmental protection, foreign affairs and national defense industry.
He played an important role in the scientific and democratic decision concerning the Three Gorges project, as well as in its construction, the statement said.
Li was a major pathfinder, a faithful practitioner and an active promoter of China's socialist market economy, as well as a significant leader in developing socialist democracy and rule of law with Chinese characteristics, the statement said.
From March 2003, he no longer served as chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.
Li's death is a great loss to the Party and the country, according to the statement.
"Eternal glory to Comrade Li Peng!" the statement concluded.