Chairman Hua Guofeng, Mao Tse-tung's handpicked successor, was removed from his post as Communist Party leader and replaced by General Secretary Hu Yaobang. An official communique said Mr. Hua offered his resignation at a three-day session of the Communist Party Central Committee, which ended Monday, and it was accepted.
His replacement, Mr. Hu, is a close ally of Deng Xiaoping. He was promoted to the powerful post of general secretary in February 1980.
As had been predicted, Mr. Hua retains a face-saving party post -- he was appointed last of the six vice-chairmen.
Hu's appointment is a sizable victory for Vice-Chairman Deng, who is trying to put in power a younger generation of moderate party leaders.
Mr. Hua is known to have been criticized in confidential party documents for pursuing a left-wing line after he took over from Chairman Mao in October 1976. His downfall, engineered mainly by Mr. Deng, began in earnest last year. He was removed from the premiership, a post he held concurrently with the party chairmanship, last September and replaced by Zhao Ziyang, another protege of Mr. Deng.
In a further success for Deng Xiaoping, Mr. Zhao has been promoted to the No. 4 position in the party hierarchy -- third vice-chairman