China's late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping still holds the world's most populous nation under his spell a year after his death.

As the first anniversary of his death nears, China still clings to his capitalist-style theories amid a poverty of ideas."We hold high a banner. Five characters are written on the banner - Deng Xiaoping theory," a front-page commentary in the official People's Daily said Wednes-day.

"The banner is our symbol, the banner is our compass, the banner is our soul," the mouthpiece of the Communist Party said on the eve of the anniversary.

Dengism can be summed up by the catch-all phrase "socialism with Chinese characteristics," which the late leader used to justify his espousal of such un-Marxist concepts as free markets, private enterprises and stock markets.

Analysts say Deng's anointed heir, Jiang Zemin, is not content with being just a caretaker leader but has had to cling to Deng's doctrines because he and his advisers have yet to come up with a better alternative.

"There's Mao Zedong thought. There's Deng Xiaoping theory. But Jiang Zemin has yet to come up with something of his own that would make him a great man like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping," one Chinese political scientist said.

"Before that happens, it's more convenient for Jiang Zemin to live in the house that Deng Xiaoping built."

Jiang joined major newspapers in paying tribute to his mentor, urging all party members to remember the man who steered China away from Mao's radical communist policies and put the country on the path of market-style economic development.

"For the past year, the Chinese people have grieved over the loss of a great statesman and the chief architect of the country's reforms, opening up and modernization," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Jiang as saying.

It was the "noble duty" of communist officials to thoroughly study Deng's ideas, Jiang said.

"This is not only the essential guarantee for advancing the cause of the CPC (Chinese Communist Party) but the best way to remember Deng Xiaoping," he said.

The People's Daily splashed on the top of its front page a 1988 photograph of Deng sitting on an armchair and wearing a black, high-collar Mao suit with the caption reading: "Son of the Chinese People - Deng Xiaoping."

It also ran a photograph of soldiers in the central city of Nanchang wearing white flowers on their chests saluting a portrait of Deng.

A 10-day exhibition of 112 photographs of Deng is due to open at a military museum in Beijing on Thursday. The pictures were taken by Deng's eldest daughter, Deng Lin, before his death and most are being made public for the first time.

In an interview with the People's Daily, the daughter said the exhibition was not an artist flaunting her talent or the depiction of a great man but the image of a father in her eyes.

"All leaders are not God but mortal men. They have their own joy, anger, grief and laughter," the daughter said. "These pictures of mine . . . reflect his natural expressions."