BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- A memorial meeting for Jiang Zemin, who passed away on Nov. 30 at the age of 96, was held Tuesday morning in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Chinese president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), addressed the meeting.
Xi said Comrade Jiang Zemin was an outstanding leader enjoying high prestige acknowledged by the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, a great Marxist, a great proletarian revolutionary, statesman, military strategist and diplomat, a long-tested communist fighter, and an outstanding leader of the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. He was the core of the Party's third generation of central collective leadership and the principal founder of the Theory of Three Represents.
The meeting was held by the CPC Central Committee, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the State Council, the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and the CMC.
Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Han Zheng, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, Li Xi, and Wang Qishan were present.
Presided over by Cai Qi, the meeting was broadcast live on radio and TV and via online news portals. Across the nation, people of all ethnic groups expressed their deep condolences for the passing of Jiang.
"We hold Comrade Jiang Zemin in high esteem, and cherish the memory of Comrade Jiang Zemin because he devoted his life to the Chinese people, and worked tirelessly throughout his life to contribute to the cause of national independence and the liberation of the people, and to the prosperity of our country and the well-being of our people," Xi told the memorial meeting.
In particular, the great achievements of our Party and the country in the 13 years following the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee are inseparable from Comrade Jiang Zemin's great talent, bold vision, key role, and exceptional art of political leadership, Xi said.
The immortal feats Comrade Jiang Zemin had accomplished for the Party and the people won him the heartfelt love and esteem of the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, as well as the wide acclaim of the international community, he said.
Across the country, national flags were flown at half-mast, and public entertainment activities were suspended for the entire day.
Throughout the memorial meeting, the main hall of the Great Hall of the People was immersed in an atmosphere of solemnity.
The rostrum of the main hall had a silver-grey backdrop, with a large color portrait of Jiang hanging in the middle.
Jiang's casket, covered with the flag of the CPC, was placed amidst bouquets of flowers and sprigs of evergreen cypress. A floral arrangement presented by family members of Jiang, including his wife Wang Yeping, was placed in front of the casket, flanked by six guards of honor.
On both sides of the rostrum were wreaths sent by Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Han Zheng, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, Li Xi, Wang Qishan, Hu Jintao, as well as the CPC Central Committee, the NPC Standing Committee, the State Council, the CPPCC National Committee, the CMC, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Commission of Supervision, the Supreme People's Court, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
Two streamers hung from the balconies of the second and third floors of the main hall.
One was inscribed with the words "Eternal Glory to Comrade Jiang Zemin who enjoys heartfelt love and esteem of the whole Party, the entire military and Chinese people of all ethnic groups." The other exhorted people to "Carry forward the legacy of Comrade Jiang Zemin and advance the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core."
There were also wreaths presented by various central Party and state institutions, people's organizations, various organs of the People's Liberation Army and the armed police, centrally-administered financial institutions and enterprises, central committees of the non-Communist parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and provincial-level Party committees, people's congresses, governments and political advisory bodies, as well as governments of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, and by Jiang's hometown and his friends.
All participants in the Great Hall of the People paid a three-minute silent tribute to Jiang at the start of the memorial meeting.
Throughout the country, hundreds of millions of people stood in silence to pay tribute. Horns were honked for three minutes while air defense sirens were sounded.
In his address following the playing of the national anthem, Xi spoke highly of Jiang's glorious life and his great achievements.
He said during the 13 years between the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee and the 16th CPC National Congress, China's reform, opening-up and socialist modernization drive unfolded with great momentum amid a highly volatile international situation.
In a complex environment both abroad and at home, Jiang led the central collective leadership of the CPC in holding high the great banners of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, unswervingly adhering to the Party's basic line, and firmly relying on the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, Xi continued.
Jiang had a thorough understanding of the development trend of the new military transformation taking place in the world and led the formulation of the military strategy in a new period. He stressed the necessity of advancing military transformation with Chinese characteristics, unswervingly adhering to a Chinese approach of having fewer but better troops, and making them more revolutionary, modern and standardized.
Thanks to Jiang's leadership and efforts, great achievements had been made in modernizing the national defense and the armed forces, Xi said.
By pooling the wisdom of the whole Party, Xi continued, Jiang formulated the Theory of Three Represents, which further answers the questions of what socialism is and how to build it, and creatively addresses what kind of Party to build and how to build it.
The Theory of Three Represents has deepened our understanding of rules to advance the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and strengthen Party building in the new conditions. With its new ideas, viewpoints and judgments, it serves as a continuation, enrichment and development of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory, Xi said.
In the 13 years following the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee, Jiang led China in effectively tackling a series of international emergencies concerning China's sovereignty and security, overcoming difficulties and risks cropping up in the political and economic spheres and those brought by natural disasters, and in particular, successfully coping with the impact of the Asian financial crisis and winning a victory in the disaster relief efforts during the devastating floods in 1998, thus guaranteeing that the great ship of China's reform, opening-up, and socialist modernization forges ahead on the right track, Xi said.
Comrade Jiang Zemin developed a distinctive revolutionary spirit and demeanor through long years of revolutionary practice, he said.
The distinctive revolutionary spirit and demeanor of Comrade Jiang Zemin will remain immortal in our hearts and will always educate and motivate us on the way forward, Xi said.
Xi said the passing of Comrade Jiang Zemin is "an inestimable loss to our Party, our military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups."
The CPC Central Committee calls on the whole Party, the entire military and the people of all ethnic groups to turn grief into strength, carry forward Comrade Jiang Zemin's legacy, mourn his passing with concrete actions, and write new chapters in the development of the cause of the Party and the country on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, he said.
Xi said Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology upon which our Party and our country are founded and thrive. On the new journey, we must adapt the basic tenets of Marxism to China's specific realities and its fine traditional culture. We must proceed from reality, keep responding to the questions posed by China, by the world, by the people, and by the times, and ensure that Marxism always retains its vigor and vitality.
The leadership of the CPC is the fundamental guarantee for the cause of the Party and the people to go forward in spite of all difficulties, he pointed out. On the new journey, we must always stay sober and determined. We must enhance the Four Consciousnesses, reinforce the Four-Sphere Confidence, and ensure the Two Upholds. We must carry forward the great founding spirit of the Party, stay true to our founding mission, have the courage to advance self-reform, and see that the Party always serves as the strong leadership core in the course of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics will allow China to catch up with the times in great strides and play a leading role. On the new journey, we must stick to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, adhere to the Party's basic theory, basic line, and basic policy, stay confident and build strength, uphold fundamental principles and break new ground. We must keep moving confidently forward in broad strides along the right path that we have chosen for ourselves, and advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, he said.
The people are the fundamental force that determines the future of our Party and our country. On the new journey, we must put the people front and center, serve the people wholeheartedly, apply a people-centered development philosophy, develop whole-process people's democracy, and maintain a close bond with the people. We must breathe the same air as the people, share the same future, stay truly connected to them, and make more notable and substantive progress toward achieving well-rounded human development and common prosperity for all, Xi said.
Reform and opening-up is a crucial move in determining the future and destiny of contemporary China. On the new journey, we must accurately identify changes, adeptly respond to them, and work to steer them in our favor. We must apply the new development philosophy, create a new pattern of development, and promote high-quality development. We must comprehensively promote reform and opening-up, constantly improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and advance the modernization of state governance system and capacity so as to gain the edge, seize the initiative and embrace a good future.
China cannot develop without the rest of the world, and the world needs China for prosperity, he said. On the new journey, we must always have global well-being in mind, holding high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and win-win and promoting the common values shared by mankind. Efforts should be made to jointly advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, facilitate the establishment of a new type of international relations, push forward the building of a community of shared future for mankind, and join hands and press ahead with all the progressive forces in the world.
Having the courage to fight and the mettle to win is an invincible source of inspiration for the CPC and the Chinese people, Xi added. On the new journey, it is imperative for us to race against time and keep striving forward, uphold a fighting spirit to rise to difficulties and grasp the historical initiative. We must foster a firmer sense of purpose, fortitude, and self-belief in the whole Party and among the Chinese people of all ethnic groups so that we cannot be swayed by fallacies, deterred by intimidation, or cowed by pressure, and thus dig deep to surmount the difficulties and challenges on the road ahead.
"Comrade Jiang Zemin has parted from us forever. But, his name and reputation, deeds of merit, thoughts and outstanding qualities will go down the annals of history and remain immortal in the hearts of the people from generation to generation," he said.
Xi called on the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to rally more closely around the CPC Central Committee, forge ahead with enterprise and fortitude, and strive in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.
After Xi's address, all present bowed three times to Comrade Jiang Zemin.
The conclusion of the memorial meeting was accompanied by the Internationale. Xi and other comrades expressed their condolences to Jiang's relatives.
Approximately 5,000 people attended the memorial meeting.