Former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Hu Yaobang died nearly 20 years ago.  On February 19, 2008, China’s official media Xinhua took a surprising turn in publishing an article that highly praised Hu Yaobang’s charisma and his character as public servant, citing Hu Yaobang’s willingness to offer his high position to others in his early days. After the article was pasted into a forum on the mainland website, many people followed up and pasted their comments. Since this article was published before the upcoming first plenary session of the 11th National People’s Congress (NPC) and the 1st Session of the 11th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) to be held in March 2008, it triggered speculation. Following to the June 4th, 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, Hu Yaobang’s name has rarely been mentioned in Chinese official media. Now, before the upcoming NPC and CPPCC sessions, this move by the CCP state-controlled media to publish such an article has inevitably triggered people to speculate upon possible upcoming CCP personnel changes. This is the only sense that has been made of why Xinhua would suddenly initiate a public move to eulogize Hu Yaobang, especially on the issue of offering his seat to others.  Below is a translation of the Chinese official media’s article on Hu Yaobang:
Hu Yaobang died 19 years ago, but his voice and expression, his great achievements, his character of a public servant, are still deeply etched in people’s memory. In people’s memory, his noble character, sterling integrity, and his charisma, are still widely praised by people.
Offering his position to others
Hu Yaobang once said: "I took part in the revolution in my teens. I never wanted to be any official." He talked the talk and walked the walk. One document stored in the File Room of the Central Committee of the Youth League may serve as evidence. It is a letter written by Hu Yaobang during the 8th National People’s Congress (NPC), as follows:
Comrade Chen Yun, and Xiaoping, (please forward to the Chairman and Comrades in the Secretariat of the Central Committee),
This morning, when I attended the meeting, and saw my name placed in the predetermined name list of the formal members of the Central Committee, a huge pain came from the bottom of my heart. Several times I wanted to stand up to raise this issue, but always felt embarrassed. When it was about to the end of the meeting, I gathered enough courage to stand up, but people said, "Do not talk about personal problems," so I had to sit down.
I never expected that I would be nominated as a member of the Central Committee. I did not underestimate myself; I have weighed myself. I have calculated like this–if our Party is consisted of a core of more than 2,000 elected leaders, I can probably be put in. Later, it was decided to elect about one hundred leaders (I fully support this), yet if it has my name in, I would feel very disturbed. Then I took another look; it would not be good if no one in charge of youth affairs is selected. So I tried my best to suppress my feeling, I didn’t mention it nor did I discuss with other comrades. Because I was promoted too fast, yet I didn’t do well, I owe the Party my debt. I could try hard to compensate for it. From this point, I felt I should understand it from the overall situation.
Now my name was again listed there as one of the 97 formal Central Committee members. I could not understand it. This way I dare not face the majority members in the alternative member list, who during the past few years or longer time, have contributed to the Party several times more than I have. This is a huge pressure on me. No matter what, Chairman and Comrades of the Central Committee, please put my name in the alternative member list.
I was a little excited and my writing has failed to convey my thoughts. Please pardon me.
September 22, 1956
The CCP Central Committee paid a lot attention to Hu Yaobang’s letter, and asked Liu Lantao to talk to Hu Yaobang. Liu said to him, “The Central Committee leaders thought someone in charge of the Youth League should be a member of the Central Committee. Hu Yaobang’s experience met this requirement. Now that this is decided, he should not bring it up any more.”
On September 27, 1956, when the 8th National People’s Congress elected the Central Committee members, Hu Yaobang was elected. After the conference, Hu Yaobang, Wang Hetao and Zhang Liqun rode in one car and returned to his home. As they sat in the living room Hu Yaobang’s assistant and secretary congratulated him. Hu looked serious and said, “There is nothing to congratulate about! It is not appropriate! There are so many provincial Party committee secretaries, ministers of the Central Committee, generals in the Army–they have more credits and experience than me, yet they are the alternative members of the Central Committee. I wrote a letter to Chairman Mao, pleading him not to arrange for me to be a member of the Central Committee. If I am needed for the work, I can be one of the alternative members. But my suggestion was not taken. I could not feel at ease.”
 From June 1981 to January 1987, Hu Yaobang filled the position of General Secretary of the CCP Central Committee. From June 1981 to September 1982, he was Chairman and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. Hu Yaobang was considered a reformist in China; he was once Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang’s close political partner, and was expected to be the first successor selected by Deng Xiaoping. Once, after the 13th NPC, Deng Xiaoping considered letting Hu Yaobang take the offices of President of State and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. The “Discussion of the Truth Standard” and “Promoting Cleaning up all Confusions and Rectifying Reversals of Right and Wrong¨ are considered to be Hu Yaobang’s two major achievements. According to CCP documents from 1987, the top CCP veterans believed that Hu Yaobang was responsible for the intellectuals’ “bourgeois liberalization tendency,” and requested for Hu to resign. Deng Xiaoping criticized Hu Yaobang and said Hu should be held responsible for the protests launched by the student movement in 1986. In 1987 Hu Yaobang was forced to resign.
 Xinhua, February 19, 2008