Fri, Jul 30, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Jiang desperately clinging to power

By Zhang Weiguo張偉國

The political situation in China has been heating up lately. Attention has, of course, been focused on Central Military Commission Chairman Jiang Zemin (江澤民), who remained in the back row during the 16th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) National Congress, but now has taken the spotlight to lead "the Shanghai clique" in attacks on everyone and everything.

Although the dust clearly has settled following Taiwan's presidential election, Jiang persists in using hired intellectuals to freely peddle the idea that there must be a war in the Taiwan Strait. He has also shown no restraint in making new appointments to and replacing top leaders in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and inspects local PLA units with much fanfare, engaging in saber-rattling and military exercises.

Although Vice President Zeng Qinghong's (曾慶紅) handling of Hong Kong affairs clearly has angered the territory's residents, making 500,000-strong demonstrations a routine matter, he has refused to take any political responsibility. Instead, he travelled to South Africa while Falun Gong members were being attacked, and then tried to dupe Hong Kong journalists in an attempt to describe the disaster as a service to the nation.

Although Education Minister Chen Zhili (陳至立), a CCP Central Committee member, clearly has ruined the education system by pushing for the "industrialization of education," he made a highly publicized trip to South Africa as ambassador for Chinese culture -- a prime example of the Shanghai clique's extensive meddling in foreign policy.

Furthermore, although Beijing has been moving toward the view that Shanghai City policies have developed to the point where they must be adjusted, Shanghai's No. 1 man, Chen Liangyu (陳良宇), a member of the CCP Central Committee, secretary of the CCP Shanghai Municipal Committee and former mayor, is still stirring up trouble wherever he can. He has even directly criticized Premier Wen Jiabao's (溫家寶) macroeconomic control policies as if he is trying to consolidate opposition within and outside the government against Wen's and President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) policies.

Jiang has now emerged from behind the scenes to take center stage and kick up a fuss. The Shanghai clique is launching attacks more or less in every direction -- against bosses and go-getters, central and local governments, military and economic affairs, domestic politics and foreign policy alike. It is unlikely that this series of actions was unplanned, or an impulsive venting of anger. It must have been meticulously planned, or, in CCP parlance, "planned, prepared and organized." Of course it had an aim as well, but what was that aim?

As the uninitiated see it, the Shanghai clique wants to discipline Hu and Wen and their followers, and maybe even have them replaced. Some typical expressions of this opinion can be seen in various newspaper headlines: "Wen Jiabao may resign within two months if macroeconomic controls fail," "New blood in the military prior to the 4th plenary session of the 16th CCP Central Committee; Jiang Zemin intends to force military to attack Hu and Wen," "Jiang Zemin wants to use Jiang Yanyong [蔣彥永] case to initiate military coup," "Jiang Zemin arranges to have Zeng Qinghong replace Hu Jintao as deputy chairman of Central Military Commission" and "Shanghai clique will not allow Hu Jintao to remain in his position until 17th CCP National Congress."

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