Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin

Overview
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

 from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

 from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 from 1989 to 2005. His long career and political prominence have led to him being described as the "core of the third generation
Generations of Chinese leadership
Because both the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army promote according to seniority, it is possible to discern distinct generations of Chinese leadership...

" of Communist Party
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 leaders.

Jiang Zemin came to power following Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

, replacing Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

 as CPC General Secretary. With the waning influence of Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 and the other members of Eight Elders due to old age, Jiang effectively became the "Paramount Leader
Paramount leader
Paramount leader literally "the highest leader of the party and the state ", in modern Chinese political science, unofficially refers to the political leader of the People's Republic of China....

" in the 1990s.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Jiang Zemin'
Start a new discussion about 'Jiang Zemin'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

 from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

 from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 from 1989 to 2005. His long career and political prominence have led to him being described as the "core of the third generation
Generations of Chinese leadership
Because both the Communist Party of China and the People's Liberation Army promote according to seniority, it is possible to discern distinct generations of Chinese leadership...

" of Communist Party
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 leaders.

Jiang Zemin came to power following Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

, replacing Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

 as CPC General Secretary. With the waning influence of Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 and the other members of Eight Elders due to old age, Jiang effectively became the "Paramount Leader
Paramount leader
Paramount leader literally "the highest leader of the party and the state ", in modern Chinese political science, unofficially refers to the political leader of the People's Republic of China....

" in the 1990s. Under his leadership, China experienced substantial developmental growth with reforms
Chinese economic reform
The Chinese economic reform refers to the program of economic reforms called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" in the People's Republic of China that were started in December 1978 by reformists within the Communist Party of China led by Deng Xiaoping.China had one of the world's largest...

, saw the peaceful return of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom and Macau from Portugal
Transfer of sovereignty of Macau
The transfer of sovereignty of Macau from the Portuguese Republic to the People's Republic of China occurred on 20 December 1999. Portuguese merchants settled in Macau and governed themselves since the time of the Ming Dynasty , first establishing a foothold in 1535, though Portugal's involvement...

, and improved its relations with the outside world while the Communist Party maintained its tight control over the government. Jiang has been criticized for being too concerned about his personal image at home, and too conciliatory towards Russia and the United States abroad. His contribution to the Marxist doctrine, a list of guiding ideologies by which the CPC rules China, is called the theory of the Three Represents
Three Represents
The Three Represents is a socio-political ideology credited to General Secretary Jiang Zemin which became a guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China at its Sixteenth Party Congress in 2002....

, which has been written into the party and state constitutions .

Background and ascendancy


Jiang was born in the city of Yangzhou
Yangzhou
Yangzhou is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China. Sitting on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, it borders the provincial capital of Nanjing to the southwest, Huai'an to the north, Yancheng to the northeast, Taizhou to the east, and Zhenjiang across...

, Jiangsu. His ancestral home was the Jiangwan Village (江湾村), Wuyuan County (婺源县) of the old Huizhou
Huizhou (region)
Huizhou is a historical region in southeastern China. It corresponds to the southernmost part of Anhui Province plus Wuyuan County in northeastern Jiangxi Province. Anhui, the name of the province, is a portmanteau word combining the first characters of Anqing and Huizhou.-Geography:Huizhou is a...

 (徽州) in northern Jiangxi
Jiangxi
' is a southern province in the People's Republic of China. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to...

 Province. This was also the hometown of a number of prominent figures in Chinese academic and intellectual establishments. Jiang grew up during the years of Japanese occupation
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

. His uncle, Jiang Shangqing, had died fighting the Japanese in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and was considered to be a national hero. Jiang attended Department of Electrical Engineering at the National Central University
National Central University
National Central University is a national comprehensive university in Taiwan .National Central University was founded in 1915 and originated in 258 CE at Nanjing, China. After NCU in Nanjing was renamed Nanjing University in 1949, NCU was re-established in Taiwan in 1962...

 in the Japanese-occupied Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

 before being transferred to Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University or SJTU), sometimes referred to as Shanghai Jiaotong University , is a top public research university located in Shanghai, China. Shanghai Jiao Tong University is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China...

. He graduated there in 1947 with a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He claimed that he joined the Communist Party of China when he was in college. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Jiang received his training at the Stalin Automobile Works
Zavod Imeni Likhacheva
Zavod imeni Likhachova, more commonly called ZIL is a major Russian truck and heavy equipment manufacturer, which also produced armored cars for most Soviet leaders, as well as buses, armored fighting vehicles, and aerosani...

 in Moscow in the 1950s. He also had worked for Changchun's First Automobile Works
First Automobile Works
FAW Group Corporation is a state-owned enterprise with publicly traded subsidiaries: FAW Car Company , Tianjin FAW Xiali Automobile Co Ltd , Changchun FAWAY Automobile Components Co Ltd ....

. He eventually got transferred to government services, where he began to rise in prominence and rank, eventually becoming a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Minister of Electronic Industries in 1983. In 1985 he became Mayor of Shanghai, and subsequently the Party Chief of Shanghai.

Jiang received mixed reviews as mayor. Many of his critics dismissed him as a "flower vase", a Chinese term used to describe a decorative but useless person. Many credited Shanghai's growth during the period to Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

 . Jiang was an ardent believer, during this period, in Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

's economic reforms. In an attempt of curbing student discontent in 1986, Jiang recited the Gettysburg Address
Gettysburg Address
The Gettysburg Address is a speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and is one of the most well-known speeches in United States history. It was delivered by Lincoln during the American Civil War, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery...

 in English in front of a group of student protesters.

Jiang was described as having a passable command of several foreign languages, including Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

, Russian, and English. One of his favorite activities was to engage foreign visitors in small talks on art and literature in their native language, in addition to singing foreign songs in the original language. He became friends with Allen Broussard
Allen Broussard
Allen Broussard was an African-American judge who rose to become a justice of the California Supreme Court.He was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana on April 13, 1929, the son of Clemire and Eugenia Broussard. At the age of 16, he moved with his family to California...

, the African American judge who visited Shanghai in 1987 and Brazilian actress Lucelia Santos
Lucélia Santos
Lucélia Santos is a Brazilian actress, director and producer. She received international acclaim for her leading role in the 1976 Rede Globo telenovela Escrava Isaura, broadcast in over 80 countries.-Biography:...

.

Jiang was elevated to national politics in 1987, automatically becoming a member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee because it is customarily dictated that the Party Chief of Shanghai would also have a seat in the Politburo. In 1989, China was in crisis over the Tiananmen Square protest
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

, and the Central Government was in conflict on how to handle the protesters. (The opening policy
Chinese economic reform
The Chinese economic reform refers to the program of economic reforms called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" in the People's Republic of China that were started in December 1978 by reformists within the Communist Party of China led by Deng Xiaoping.China had one of the world's largest...

, brought out by Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

, has been proved as a crucial and brilliant turning point in China's modern history, causing the economy to grow at an astonishing rate during the past decades.) In June, Deng Xiaoping dismissed liberal Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

, who was considered too conciliatory to student protestors. Jiang, at the time, was the Shanghai Party Chief
Politics of Shanghai
The Politics of Shanghai is structured in a dual party-government system like all other governing institutions in the mainland of the People's Republic of China . In the last few decades the city has produced many of the country's eventual senior leaders...

, the top figure in China's new economic center. In an incident with the World Economic Herald, Jiang closed down the newspaper, deeming it harmful. The handling of the crisis in Shanghai was noticed by Beijing, and then paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping. As the protests escalated and then Party-chief Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

 was removed from office, Jiang was selected by the Party leaders as a compromise candidate over Tianjin
Tianjin
' is a metropolis in northern China and one of the five national central cities of the People's Republic of China. It is governed as a direct-controlled municipality, one of four such designations, and is, thus, under direct administration of the central government...

's Li Ruihuan
Li Ruihuan
Li Ruihuan was a politician active late 20th century and early 21st century in the People's Republic of China. Li was a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of 15th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China until November 2002...

, Premier Li Peng
Li Peng
Li Peng served as the fourth Premier of the People's Republic of China, between 1987 and 1998, and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislative body, from 1998 to 2003. For much of the 1990s Li was ranked second in the Communist Party of China ...

, Chen Yun
Chen Yun
Chen Yun was one of the most influential leaders of the People's Republic of China during the 1980s and 90s, and one of the top leaders of the Communist Party of China for almost its entire history. He was also known as Liao Chengyun ; it's unclear whether this was his original name or a pseudonym...

, and the retired elders to become the new General Secretary. At the time he was considered to be an unlikely candidate. Within three years Deng had transferred most power in the state, party and military to Jiang.

Early leadership


Jiang was elevated to the country's top job in 1989 with a fairly small power base inside the party, and thus, very little actual power. He was believed as simply a transitional figure until a more stable successor government to Deng could be put in place. Other prominent Party and military figures like Yang Shangkun
Yang Shangkun
Yang Shangkun was President of the People's Republic of China from 1988 to 1993, and was permanent Vice-chair of the Central Military Commission...

 and brother Yang Baibing
Yang Baibing
Yang Baibing is a general in the People's Liberation Army.-Biography:He was born as and joined the Communist Party of China in March 1938....

 were believed to be planning a coup. Jiang used Deng Xiaoping as a back-up to his leadership in the first few years. Jiang, who was believed to have a neo-conservative slant, warned against "bourgeois liberalization". Deng's belief, however, stipulated that the only solution to keeping the legitimacy of Communist rule over China was to continue the drive for modernization and economic reform, and therefore placed himself at odds with Jiang.

At the first meeting of the new Standing Committee of the Politburo, after the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, Jiang criticized the previous period as "hard on the economy, soft on politics" and advocated increasing political thought work. Anne-Marie Brady writes that "Jiang Zemin was a long time political cadre with a nose for ideological work and its importance. This meeting marked the beginning of a new era in propaganda and political thought work in China." Soon after, the Central Propaganda Department was given more resources and power, "including the power to go in to the propaganda-related work units and cleanse the ranks of those who had been supportive of the democracy movement."

Deng grew critical of Jiang's leadership in 1992. During Deng's southern tours, he subtly suggested that the pace of reform was not fast enough, and the "central leadership" (i.e. Jiang) had most responsibility. Jiang grew ever more cautious, and rallied behind Deng's reforms completely. In 1993, Jiang coined the new term "socialist market economy
Socialist market economy
The socialist market economy or socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics is the official term used to refer to the economic system of the People's Republic of China after the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. It is also referred to as socialism with Chinese characteristics...

" to move China's centrally-planned socialist economy into essentially a government-regulated capitalist market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

. It was a huge step to take in the realization of Deng's "Socialism with Chinese characteristics". At the same time, Jiang elevated many of his supporters from Shanghai to high government positions, after regaining Deng's confidence. He abolished the outdated Central Advisory Committee, an advisory body composed of revolutionary party elders. He became Chairman of the Central Military Commission
Chairman of the Central Military Commission
The Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China has overall responsibility for the Central Military Commission. According to Chapter 3, Section 4 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "The Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of...

 in 1989, followed by his election to the Presidency
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

 in March 1993.

Secretaryship and Presidency


Deng Xiaoping died in early 1997, and China, emerging gradually out of the Deng-era reforms and the relative stability of the early 1990s, faced a myriad of economic and social problems. At Deng's funeral, Jiang delivered his eulogy. He had inherited a China rampant with government corruption, and regional economies growing too rapidly for the stability of the entire country. Deng's idea that "some areas can get rich before others" gave rise to an opening wealth gap between coastal regions and the hinterlands. The unprecedented economic growth had inevitably led to the closing of many state-owned enterprises (SOE's), and a staggering unemployment rate that hit 40% in some urban areas. Stock market
Stock market
A stock market or equity market is a public entity for the trading of company stock and derivatives at an agreed price; these are securities listed on a stock exchange as well as those only traded privately.The size of the world stock market was estimated at about $36.6 trillion...

s fluctuated greatly. The scale of rural migration into urban areas was unprecedented anywhere in the world, and little was being done to address an ever-increasing urban-rural wealth gap. Official reports put the figure on the percentage of China's GDP being moved and abused by corrupt officials at 10%. A chaotic environment of illegal bonds issued from civil and military officials resulted in much of the corrupted wealth to end up in foreign countries. Corruption levels had replicated, if not exceeded that of the Republican era in the 1940s. A surge in crime rates and the re-emergence of organized crime began to plague cities. A careless stance on the destruction of the environment furthered concerns voiced by intellectuals. Jiang's biggest aim in the economy was stability, and he believed that a stable government with highly centralised power would be a prerequisite, choosing to postpone political reform, which in many facets of governance exacerbated the on-going problems. Jiang continued pouring funds to develop the Special Economic Zone
Special Economic Zone
A Special Economic Zone is a geographical region that has economic and other laws that are more free-market-oriented than a country's typical or national laws...

s and coastal regions.

Jiang is believed to be the first Chinese leader to truly manipulate the medium of television to enhance his own image, gaining a reputation for charisma. Beginning in 1996, Jiang began a series of reforms in the state-controlled media aimed at promoting the "core of leadership" under himself, and at the same time crushing some of his political opponents. The personality enhancements in the media were largely frowned upon during the Deng era, and had not been seen since Mao and Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
Su Zhu, better known by the nom de guerre Hua Guofeng , was Mao Zedong's designated successor as the Paramount Leader of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China. Upon Zhou Enlai's death in 1976, he succeeded Zhou as the second Premier of the People's Republic of China...

's time in office in the late 1970s. The People's Daily
People's Daily
The People's Daily is a daily newspaper in the People's Republic of China. The paper is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China , published worldwide with a circulation of 3 to 4 million. In addition to its main Chinese-language edition, it has editions in English,...

and CCTV
China Central Television
China Central Television or Chinese Central Television, commonly abbreviated as CCTV, is the major state television broadcaster in mainland China. CCTV has a network of 19 channels broadcasting different programmes and is accessible to more than one billion viewers...

-1's 7 pm national news each had Jiang-related events as the front-page or top stories, a fact that remained until Hu Jintao's media administrative changes in 2006. He appeared casual in front of Western media, and gave an unprecedented interview with Mike Wallace
Mike Wallace (journalist)
Myron Leon "Mike" Wallace is an American journalist, former game show host, actor and media personality. During his 60+ year career, he has interviewed a wide range of prominent newsmakers....

 of CBS in 2000 at Beidaihe
Beidaihe
Beidaihe District is a district in Qinhuangdao municipality, Hebei province on the coast of the Bohai Sea in North China. It has an area of 70.14 square kilometers and a population of 66,000. is also known as a birding haven. The Beidaihe Beach Resort stretches 10 km from east to west, from...

. He would often use foreign languages in front of the camera, albeit not always comprehensible. In an encounter with a Hong Kong reporter in 2000 regarding the central government's apparent "imperial order" of supporting Tung Chee-hwa to seek a second term as Chief Executive of Hong Kong
Chief Executive of Hong Kong
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is the President of the Executive Council of Hong Kong and head of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The position was created to replace the Governor of Hong Kong, who was the head of the Hong Kong government during British rule...

, Jiang branded the Hong Kong journalists as "too simple, sometimes naive" in English. The event was shown on Hong Kong television that night, an event regarded to be in poor taste outside China.

Since 1999, the media has also played an integral role in the crackdown of Falun Gong, which Falun Gong groups believe to be an act under the direction of Jiang himself, and has been heavily criticized by the West. Jiang reputedly came under conflict with the more moderate premier Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

 over how to contain the spiritual movement. According to International Advocates for Justice, Falun Gong has filed the largest number of human rights lawsuits in the 21st century and the charges are among the most severe international crimes defined by international criminal laws. Ownby stated that, 54 civil and criminal lawsuits were under way in 33 countries in 2006 In December 2009, based on a case brought by Falun Gong followers in the country four years previously, Argentine Federal Judge Octavio de Lamadrid issued an arrest warrant for Jiang and Luo Gan for "crimes against humanity". The landmark case succeeded because provisions in Argentina's 1994 constitution allow Argentine courts to address human rights issues in other countries. The report does not state whether Luo or Jiang were represented.

Foreign policy



Jiang went on a groundbreaking state visit
State visit
A state visit is a formal visit by a foreign head of state to another nation, at the invitation of that nation's head of state. State visits are the highest form of diplomatic contact between two nations, and are marked by ceremonial pomp and diplomatic protocol. In parliamentary democracies, heads...

 to the United States in 1997, drawing various crowds in protest from the Tibet Independence Movement to the supporters of chinese democracy movement
Chinese democracy movement
The Chinese democracy movement refers to a series of loosely organized political movements in the People's Republic of China against the continued one-party rule by the Communist Party. One such movement began during the Beijing Spring in 1978 and was taken up again in the Tiananmen Square...

. He made a speech at Harvard University, part of it in passable English, but could not escape questions on democracy and freedom. In the official summit meeting with US President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, the tone was relaxed as Jiang and Clinton sought common ground while largely ignoring areas of disagreement. Clinton would visit China in June 1998, and vowed that China and the United States were partners in the world, and not adversaries. When American-led NATO bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade
NATO Bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade
On May 7, 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia , five US JDAM bombs hit the People's Republic of China embassy in the Belgrade district of New Belgrade, killing three Chinese reporters and outraging the Chinese public. President Bill Clinton later apologized for the bombing, stating it was...

 in 1999, Jiang seemed to have put up a harsh stance for show at home, but in reality only performed symbolic gestures of protest, and no solid action. Much of Jiang's foreign policy was focused on international trade and economic integration. A personal friend of former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former Canadian politician who was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the position for over ten years, from November 4, 1993 to December 12, 2003....

, Jiang strengthened China's economic stature abroad, attempting to establish cordial relations with countries whose trade is largely confined to the American economic sphere.

Economic development


Jiang did not specialize in economics, and in 1997 handed a most of the economic governance of the country to Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

, who became Premier, and remained in office through the Asian financial crisis. Under their joint leadership, Mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

 has sustained an average of 8% GDP growth annually, achieving the highest rate of per capita economic growth in major world economies, raising eyebrows around the world with its astonishing speed. This was mostly achieved by continuing the process of a transition to a market economy. Strong party control over China was cemented by the PRC's successful bid to join the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 and Beijing winning the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics
The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, was a major international multi-sport event that took place in Beijing, China, from August 8 to August 24, 2008. A total of 11,028 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees competed in 28 sports and 302 events...

.

Entrenching Three Represents


Before he transferred power to a younger generation of leaders, Jiang had his theory of Three Represents
Three Represents
The Three Represents is a socio-political ideology credited to General Secretary Jiang Zemin which became a guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China at its Sixteenth Party Congress in 2002....

 written into the Party's constitution, alongside Marxism–Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

, and Deng Xiaoping Theory
Deng Xiaoping Theory
Deng Xiaoping Theory , also known as Dengism, is the series of political and economic ideologies first developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. In theory, it does not reject Marxism or Mao Zedong Thought but instead seeks to adapt them to the existing socio-economic conditions of China.Since the...

 at the 16th CPC Congress in 2002. Although contradictory to Marxism and Maoism in many facets, it was also written into China's Constitution. Critics believe this is just another piece added to Jiang's cult of personality
Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships...

, others have seen practical applications of the theory as a guiding ideology in the future direction of the CPC. Largely speculated to step down from all positions by international media, rival Li Ruihuan
Li Ruihuan
Li Ruihuan was a politician active late 20th century and early 21st century in the People's Republic of China. Li was a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of 15th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China until November 2002...

's resignation in 2002 prompted analysts to rethink the man. The theory of Three Represents was believed by many political analysts to be Jiang's effort at extending his vision to Marxist–Leninist principles, and therefore elevating himself alongside previous Chinese Marxist philosophers Mao and Deng.

Gradual retirement



In 2002, Jiang stepped down from the powerful CPC Politburo Standing Committee and CPC General Secretary to make way for a "fourth generation" of leadership headed by Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

, marking the beginning of a transition of power that would last several years. Hu assumed Jiang's title as party chief, becoming the new general secretary of the Communist Party. Six out of the nine new members of Standing Committee at the time were considered part of Jiang's so-called "Shanghai Clique
Shanghai clique
The Shanghai clique or Shanghai faction is the name given to an informal group of officials in the Communist Party of China, especially those who serve in the central government of the People's Republic of China or the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, who rose to prominence in...

", the most prominent being Vice President Zeng Qinghong
Zeng Qinghong
Zeng Qinghong was the Vice-President of the People's Republic of China from 2003 to 2008. He became a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee during the 2002 16th Party Congress. Although he was formally ranked fifth in the nine PSC...

 and First Vice Premier Huang Ju
Huang Ju
Huang Ju was the Executive Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China. He joined the Communist Party of China in March 1966. He was ranked 6th out of 9, and was one of the least popular and most partisan members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Party...

.

Although Jiang retained the chairmanship of the powerful Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission
A Central Military Commission or National Defense Commission is an organisation typical of Communist one-party states, responsible for supervising the nation's armed forces....

, most members of the commission are professional military men. Liberation Army Daily, a publication thought to represent the views of the CMC majority, printed an article on 11 March 2003 which quotes two army delegates as saying, "Having one center is called 'loyalty', while having two centers will result in 'problems.'" This was widely interpreted as a criticism of Jiang's attempt to exercise dual leadership with Hu on the model of Deng Xiaoping.

Hu succeeded Jiang as President of the People's Republic of China
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

 on 15 March 2003. To the surprise of many observers, evidence of Jiang's continuing influence on public policy abruptly disappeared from the official media. Jiang was conspicuously silent during the SARS crisis, especially when compared to the very public profile of Hu and Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao is the sixth and current Premier and Party secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, serving as China's head of government and leading its cabinet. In his capacity as Premier, Wen is regarded as the leading figure behind China's economic policy...

. It has been argued that the institutional arrangements created by the 16th Congress have left Jiang in a position where he cannot exercise much influence. Although many of the members of the Politburo Standing Committee are associated with him, the Standing Committee does not have command authority over the civilian bureaucracy.

On 19 September 2004, after a four-day meeting of the 198-member Central Committee
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is the highest authority within the Communist Party of China. Its approximately 350 members and alternates are selected once every five years by the National Party Congress....

, Jiang resigned as chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission, his last party post. Six months later he resigned his last significant post, chairman of the State CMC. This followed weeks of speculation that Hu Jintao's supporters in the Communist Party leadership were pressing Jiang to step aside. Jiang's term was supposed to have lasted until 2007. Hu also succeeded Jiang as the CMC chairman, but, in an apparent political defeat for Jiang, Xu Caihou
Xu Caihou
Xu Caihou is one of three vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China along with Guo Boxiong. He succeeded Hu Jintao to the post on September 19, 2004 upon the latter's promotion to the chairmanship...

, and not Zeng Qinghong was appointed to succeed Hu as vice chairman. This power transition officially marks the end of Jiang's era in China, which roughly lasted from 1993 to 2004.

Although Jiang has been seldom seen in public since giving up his last official title in 2004, he was with Hu Jintao on stage at a ceremony celebrating the 80th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army, and toured the Military Museum of the Chinese Peoples Revolution with Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, and other former senior officials. On 8 August 2008, Jiang appeared at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics Games. He also stood beside Hu Jintao during 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China mass parade in October 2009.

Disappearance


In December 2010, following Jiang's absence at the funeral of former Chinese foreign minister Huang Hua, rumours began circulating about his demise. On 1 July 2011, he was once again conspicuously absent, this time from the celebrations to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party. Within days, Internet rumours began circulating that Jiang had died, prompting Chinese censors to block searches for the words "Jiang Zemin", or even simply "Jiang". On 6 July Hong Kong media carried headlines that Jiang was "critically ill". That evening, terrestrial TV station ATV
Asia Television Limited
Asia Television Limited is one of the two free-to-air television broadcasters in Hong Kong, the other being rival Television Broadcasts Limited . It launched in 1957 under the name Rediffusion Television as the first television station in Hong Kong...

 reported on its evening news bulletin that Jiang had died in Beijing. Xinhua, official state news agency, quoting “authoritative sources”, declared that overseas media reports of Jiang's death were "pure rumour".

Dissident website Boxun.com
Boxun.com
Boxun.com is an overseas Chinese community website created by Meicun "Watson" Meng, who studied in the United States after working for two multinational companies in China. Boxun covers international political news and human rights abuses in the People's Republic of China, among other topics...

 had reported on 6 July 2011 a source as saying: “Former leader Jiang died at midnight at Beijing 301 Hospital.” At approximately 3 pm, it issued a correction: “We reported that Jiang was in critical condition or died based on several sources, but a figure in Beijing called us at noon to inform us that his condition has improved.”

On 9 October 2011, Jiang made his first public appearance since his premature obituary in Beijing at a celebration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution
Xinhai Revolution
The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution, also known as Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty, the Qing , and established the Republic of China...

.

Legacy


Historians and biographers have disputed what can be accounted into "Jiang Zemin's legacy". Jiang himself had wanted his Three Represents
Three Represents
The Three Represents is a socio-political ideology credited to General Secretary Jiang Zemin which became a guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China at its Sixteenth Party Congress in 2002....

 theory, called an "important thought" on the mainland, to become his ideological legacy. Although the theory has been codified into both the State and Party constitutions alongside Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory
Deng Xiaoping Theory
Deng Xiaoping Theory , also known as Dengism, is the series of political and economic ideologies first developed by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. In theory, it does not reject Marxism or Mao Zedong Thought but instead seeks to adapt them to the existing socio-economic conditions of China.Since the...

, its actual effect has yet to be assessed, and it seems to be losing ground to Hu Jintao's Scientific Development Concept
Scientific Development Concept
The scientific development concept, sometimes translated as the scientific development perspective, is the current official guiding socio-economic ideology of the Communist Party of China incorporating sustainable development, social welfare, a humanistic society, increased democracy, and,...

and Harmonious Society
Harmonious society
The construction of a Harmonious Society is a socio-economic vision that is said to be the ultimate end result of Chinese leader Hu Jintao's signature ideology of the Scientific Development Concept. It serves as the ultimate goal for the ruling Communist Party of China along with Xiaokang society,...

ideologies within the party. Jiang has come under quiet criticism from within the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 for focusing on economic growth at all costs while ignoring the resulting environmental damage of the growth, the widening gap between rich and poor in China and the social costs absorbed by those whom economic reform has left behind. By contrast, the policies of his successors, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao is the sixth and current Premier and Party secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, serving as China's head of government and leading its cabinet. In his capacity as Premier, Wen is regarded as the leading figure behind China's economic policy...

 have widely been seen as efforts to address these imbalances and move away from a sole focus on economic growth toward a broader view of development which incorporates non economic factors such as health and the environment.

Domestically, Jiang's legacy and reputation is mixed. While some people attributed the period of relative stability and growth in the 1990s to Jiang's term, others argue that Jiang did little to correct mistakes resulting from Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms, leaving the next administration facing innumerable problems, some of which are too late to adjust. The fact he arose to power as the direct beneficiary of the turmoils of 4 June has not been forgotten by many in China. Indeed, he is in many circles regarded as a political opportunist; the very model of a new breed of party members directly associated with the widespread corruption and cronyism that flourished during his tenure. His interference with high profile corruption investigations since stepping down from power, such as those involving Shanghai tycoon Zhou Zhengyi
Zhou Zhengyi
Zhou Zhengyi is a prominent businessman born and based in Shanghai, People's Republic of China. The flamboyant property developer is described as the 11th richest man in China, with personal assets totalling US$320 million.-Biography:...

, has only helped to reinforce this perception.

Jiang's obsession with image has also spurred a trend of face projects around the country, with local governments lending enormous funds to large and mostly unnecessary construction projects. While his showy nature has often been considered charming and even charismatic by the west, in the relatively more conservative Chinese society it is often perceived as frivolous, pompous and lacking in character and substance. Jiang's Theory of Three Represents justified the incorporation of the new capitalist business class into the party, and changed the founding ideology of the CPC from protection of the peasantry and workers to that of the "overwhelming majority of the people", a euphemism aimed at including the growing entrepreneurial class. Conservative critics within the party have quietly denounced this as betrayal of the communist ideology, while reformers have praised Jiang as a visionary. Such a move, however, increasingly justified a newly found correlation between the business and ruling elites, thus significantly linking bureaucracy and financial gain, which critics argued fosters more corruption. Some have suggested this is the part of Jiang's legacy that will last, at least in name, as long as the communists remain in power.

Many biographers of Jiang have noted his government resembled an oligarchy as opposed to an autocratic dictatorship. Many of his policies have been attributed to others in government, notably Premier Zhu Rongji
Zhu Rongji
Zhū Róngjī is a prominent Chinese politician who served as the Mayor and Party chief in Shanghai between 1987 and 1991, before serving as Vice-Premier and then the fifth Premier of the People's Republic of China from March 1998 to March 2003.A tough administrator, his time in office saw the...

, whose tense relationship with Jiang was of widespread speculation, especially following Jiang's decision to suppress the Falun Gong
Falun Gong
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 by its founder, Li Hongzhi, through public lectures. It combines the practice of meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with the moral philosophy...

 movement. Jiang is often credited with the gains in foreign affairs during his term, but at the same time many Chinese criticized him for being too conciliatory towards the United States and Russia. The issue of Chinese reunification
Chinese reunification
Chinese reunification refers to the bringing together of all of the territories controlled by the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China under a single political entity...

 between the mainland and Taiwan gained ground during Jiang's term, as Cross-Strait talks led to the eventual Three Links
Three Links
The Three Links or Three Linkages was a "message of Compatriots in Taiwan" calling for the unification of mainland China and Taiwan. It was sent by the PRC National People's Congress in 1979....

 after Jiang stepped down as Party general secretary. The Qinghai-Tibet railway
Qingzang railway
The Qinghai–Xizang railway, Qingzang railway, or Qinghai–Tibet railway , is a high-elevation railway that connects Xining, Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, in People's Republic of China....

 began construction under Jiang.

See also

  • Politics of the People's Republic of China
    Politics of the People's Republic of China
    The politics of the People's Republic of China take place in a framework of a single-party socialist republic. The leadership of the Communist Party is stated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China...

  • History of the People's Republic of China (1989–2002)
  • The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin
    The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin
    In 2005 a biography of Chinese President Jiang Zemin by Robert Lawrence Kuhn was published simultaneously in English and Chinese, generating attention and controversy.-Publisher:...

    , Jiang's controversial biography by Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Further reading

  • Gilley, Bruce. "Tiger on the Brink: Jiang Zemin and China's New Elite." Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. 395pp. This was the first biography of Jiang to appear in the West. A comprehensive and highly readable journalistic account of Jiang's early years, his ascendancy within the Party bureaucracy, and his ultimate rise to power as Deng Xiaoping's successor in the wake of Tiananmen.
  • Kuhn, Robert Lawrence
    Robert Lawrence Kuhn
    Robert Lawrence Kuhn is an international investment banker, corporate strategist, and public intellectual. With a doctorate in brain research and the author or editor of over twenty-five books, he is a commentator on business, finance, and China; long-time adviser to the Chinese government;...

     = The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin, Random House (English edition) 2005. Century Publishing Group, Shanghai (Chinese edition) 2005. The book is a general biography of Jiang with a more favorable stance towards him.
    • China Daily = English language review of biography by Dr. Kuhn.
  • Lam, Willy Wo-Lap. "The Era of Jiang Zemin"; Prentice Hall, Singapore: 1999. General Jiang-era background information and analysis, not comprehensive biography.

External links