One of the favorite sayings in Beijing’s political circles compares the achievements of the three “leadership cores.” “Mao Zedong, the core of the first generation leadership, created heaven and earth,” so goes the bon mot. “Deng Xiaoping, the core of the second generation, changed the course of heaven and earth. Jiang Zemin, the core of the third generation leadership, likes to talk about heaven and earth.”
Earlier this year, a Jiaotong University classmate of Jiang told the president he could yet change posterity’s assessment of him by doing something big in political reform. “In this way, you will have done something that will shake up heaven and earth,” the Jiang friend said. The president replied by saying he would give this further thought. It is true that since late last year, Jiang, together with several of his Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo colleagues, has spent many hours brainstorming on the direction of the reform of the political structure.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A LEGACY