THIRTEEN YEARS OF JIANG ZEMIN

Publication: China Brief Volume: 2 Issue: 22

by Baopu Liu

The likely exit of the CCP General Secretary Jiang Zemin at this 16th Party Congress will mark the first paramount Chinese leader in PRC history to leave his post without top-level internal political turmoil. His “Three Represents”–self-proclaimed to be the grand theoretical paradigm that would keep the CCP up to date–is actually so feeble that it has been very nearly ignored within China, even within the Communist Party. After thirteen years of ruling China, the uncharismatic leader Jiang Zemin has left little impression on the world as to either his character or his vision for the country.

The People’s Republic of China has been undergoing reform for twenty-four out of its fifty-three years, yet its current leader has yet to set forth the final destiny of such a reform with the grand vision one expects or hopes from a leader. Jiang’s predecessor Deng, who initiated the reforms, had a plausible reason for not articulating the purpose of the reform: Deng had to undo Mao’s socialist autarchy while keeping Mao’s dogmatic ideological construct intact. Jiang has faced no such obstacle.

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, NOTHING IS SURE