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Deng Xiaoping, China's undisputed strong man, may step up to the largely ceremonial position of chief of state The National People's Congress, China's legislature, meets this fall and is expected to amend the Constitution to revive the position of chief of state and then make the chief of state commander in chief of the armed forces. Deng already has de facto command of the armed forces as chairman of the party's military commission. But according to the present Constitution, the party chairman should command.

New party chairman Hu Yaobang, a Deng protege, lacks sufficient military experience to win the respect of the armed forces, whereas Deng was co- leader of one of the principal Communist armies d uring the 1945-49 civil war.m

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