Hu Jintao to step down as military chief, making Xi Jinping most powerful
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Gu has been awarded a suspended death sentence.
Hu's decision to quit from all posts looks as an attempt to retain his clean image, as Jiang's decision to cling on to power through back door even after retirement had become immensely unpopular and fuelled fierce criticism both inside and outside the party, the newspaper said.
Many accused Jiang of jeopardising leadership succession plans envisaged by late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and upstaging Hu, who Deng anointed to succeed Jiang.
Hu is said to be keenly aware of the high stakes in his decision on whether to retain the post as Chairman of the Military Commission, it said.
Image conscious Hu last week hit headlines with his speech at the inaugural day of the Party Congress warning leaders and cadre of how corruption which has become endemic among rank and file would result in the fall of both China and the Party.
"For whatever reasons Hu chooses to relinquish his power, it would be an important incremental step that helps set a new precedent pointing to smooth transfer of power," Chen Ziming, a Beijing-based political observer told the daily.
"This is definitely Hu's boldest push for political reform, which has been stuck in an impasse during his tenure," he said.
Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based historian said there is little doubt that Hu's departure would be good news for incoming leaders.
"The full retirement of Hu and other leaders will help strengthen the scope for their successors to run the country the way they intend," he said.
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