CHINA UNDER JIANG ZEMIN
Jiang Zemin was China's leader from 1990 to 2003. He rose to power in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square killings, oversaw the handover of Hong Kong in 1997 and led his country until 2002, by which time it was one of the world's most powerful economies. Jiang handed over his leadership roles to Hu Jintao in 2002 and 2003. He remained an influential political figure almost a decade after stepping down.
Zemin was plucked from obscurity in 1989 to head the Communist Party after the bloody crackdown on democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Jiang replaced Zhao Ziyang, who was toppled by hardliners for supporting the student movement at Tiananmen Square.
The political leaders after Deng--Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongi--have been referred to as "third generation" leaders. The leaders that came after them--Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao--have been called the “forth generation” with Mao Zedong being the “first generation” leader and Deng Xiaoping being the “second generation.”
Nearly all the Chinese who participated in the Long March and the Communist Revolution are gone. "Unlike Deng and the Elders who cut their political teeth on the battlefields fighting the Japanese or the Nationalists," wrote Steven Mufson in the Washington Post, "the next generation spent its formative years laboring within the apparatus of the Communist state as enterprise managers, central planners or party bureaucrats."
Links in this Website: DENG XIAOPING Factsanddetails.com/China ; CHINA UNDER DENG XIAOPING Factsanddetails.com/China ; DENG XIAOPING’S ECONOMIC REFORMS Factsanddetails.com/China ; TIANANMEN SQUARE DEMONSTRATIONS Factsanddetails.com/China ; HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; DISSIDENTS, POLITICAL ACTIVISTS AND POLITICAL PRISONERS IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; ECONOMIC HISTORY AFTER DENG XIAOPING Factsanddetails.com/China CHINA UNDER JIANG ZEMIN Factsanddetails.com/China ; CHINA UNDER HU JINTAO Factsanddetails.com/China
Jiang Zemin was the leader of China for 13 years, from 1990, when Deng was still powerful behind the scenes, to 2003. He was at the height of his power after Deng’s death in 1997 through the early 2000s. At one time he held nine major party, government and military titles, including President, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and Communist Party General Secretary.
It was initially thought that Jiang would only serve a short time as a transition figure. Everyone was surprised that he hung on as long as he did. Jiang’s rule was not absolute. He shared power to a large degree with others. He was neither reviled nor loved. He did not come from a peasant family and had no real revolutionary pedigree. He came across as an nerdy but affable bureaucrat. His policies had little obvious impact; change seemed to occur in spite of him rather than because of him; and he never really captured the imagination of the Chinese people
Even so, Jiang is generally credited with steering China on a positive course and bringing stability, economic prosperity, international prestige and some personal freedom to Chinese. He is given bad marks for the corruption, growing gap between rich and poor and social unrest that increased under his watch.
Jiang Zemin's Early Life
Jiang was born into an educated family in Yangzhou City in Jiangsu in 1926. Although he lacked the revolutionary background of the first Communist party leaders and never served in the military, he had one thing his predecessors didn't have: a university degree. He got an engineering degree from Jiatong University in Shanghai in 1947.
Jiang didn't join the Communist Party until he was 21, in 1947. In 1949 he went to Moscow for training at the Stalin Automobile Plant. He returned and worked at the state-run China No. 1 Automobile Factory. After that he worked as an administrator at several soap and food factories, including a popsicle factory, and then rose through the ranks of the Communist bureaucracy.
In the 1960s, Jiang worked at an atomic reactor institute and was head of the Ministry of the Electronics Industry. These were both targeted in Cultural Revolution campaigns. It is not known how much Jiang was affected. By 1970 he was out of harms way, working at the Ministry of Machine Building in Romania.
Jiang has often been described as bland and uncharismatic. Early during his tenure as China’s leader he often appeared wooden and seemed most comfortable in choreographed situations. When he first met U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1993 he spent most of their face-to-face meeting reading from a prepared text. Later in his tenure he appeared more relaxed and anxious to show off his singing an swimming ability when given the chance.
Jiang was described by people who knew him as witty, gracious and shrewd, a natural politician. He has been widely praised for having a common touch and relating to the problems of ordinary workers and the unemployed. One aid said "Jiang has a deep desire to make everyone like him."
As time went in Jiang seemed to enjoy being in the public eye and pressing the flesh. He hugged children in public appearances, wept at funerals, played the piano on television, danced the hula and played a steel guitar in Hawaii and had a reputation for telling unfunny jokes Describing Jiang at a dinner, Norman Pearlstine wrote in Time, "He has a wonderful voice that ranges—both in Chinese and his near fluent English—from low and deep to high pitched and animated when he gets worked up over an idea or joke. He is a good listener, leaning back in his chair with a cocked head, leaning forward to respond. His eyes...full of mirth.”
Jiang wore saucer-size glasses and had a large paunch and sometimes wore his pants, embarrassingly, with his belt secured above his stomach. He also known for combing his hair in front world leaders. Jiang and his wife, Wang Yeping, have two sons. The oldest son got a Ph.D in solid state physics at Pennsylvania's Drexel University.
Jiang's Hobbies and Interests
Jiang speaks Russian, English, German and Romanian and worked hard to maintain his language skills. Sometimes when he went on vacation he brought along ten language experts. Once on a trip to Chile, he delivered a 40 minute speech in Spanish, a language that he was previously not known to have spoken.
Jiang was widely versed in a number of subjects. He discussed computer technology with the chairman of IBM and quoted Shakespeare to the U.S. Secretary of State. He liked to recite Tang dynasty poetry and sing Beijing Opera in Chinese, quote and the opening lines of Anna Karenina in Russian and cite Lincoln's Gettysburg address or the Declaration of Independence in English when he met with U.S. officials.
In his free time Jiang liked to watch American movies, read Dickens, Goethe, Emily Brönte and Mark Twain and write poetry. One of Jiang's poems, Feelings on Climbing Huang Mountain, was published on the front page of the People's Daily, China's largest daily newspaper, and was included in student textbooks. At his banquets, shark fin soup, hot pot, and coconut juice were served.
Jiang, Music and Swimming
Jiang is a self taught musician, who plays the piano, the flute, the ukelele, the organ, the Hawaiian guitar, and Chinese ehru. In 1982 he waltzed and sang One Day When We Were Young and Wonderful Morning in May with Dianne Feinstein, then mayor of San Francisco and now a U.S. senator. He gave president Clinton a Shanghai-made saxophone in 1993 and played church organs on trips to Finland and Holland.
Jiang liked to sing Love Me Tender and Swanee River. He sang Love Me Tender while cruising in Manila Bay with Philippine President Fidel Ramos and serenaded U.S. President Bush at a banquet and waltzed with his security advisor Condoleezza Rice. As President of China he met with director of MTV.
Like Mao and Deng, Jiang took to the water to show his good health and vigor when people had doubts about his health. He went swimming at Waikiki Beach in Honolulu in 1998, accompanied by 17 bodyguards, before meeting with Clinton. He did the breaststroke for an hour and swam more than a kilometer. On a trip to the Middle East he enjoyed floating on his back in the Dead Sea.
Jiang Zemin's Political Career
Jiang was the first Chinese leader without a military or revolutionary background. He spent most of his life in the cities with technocrats and rose through the ranks as a kind of "bureaucratic dilettante," rising as high as he did by "backing winners rather than attacking losers." His experience in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe won him a reputation as an internationalist.
Jiang was made party chief (a position higher than mayor) in Shanghai in 1985 at time when Shanghai was regarded as breeding ground for party talent. Jiang won brownies points when he managed to defuse huge pro-democracy demonstrations in Shanghai around the time of Tiananmen Square without ordering the military to open fire. Instead he closed down the Economic Herald, a Shanghai newspaper that allegedly fanned unrest in Beijing, and convinced Shanghai students to go home peacefully. During a speech at Jiantong University he saw a poster quoting Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and surprised students by reciting passages from the address in English.
Jiang Zemin peaceful resolution of the demonstrations caught Deng's eye. Deng had just jettisoned the ultra liberal Zhao Ziyang and was looking for fresh blood but not one that rocked the boat too much. Jiang fit the bill. Within a matter a months he was brought to Beijing and promoted to the number 2 position in China in 1989.
Later as leader Jiang admitted mistakes were made at Tiananmen Square. Answering question about the use of force at Tiananmen Square after a speech at Harvard university, he said, "It goes without saying that naturally we may have shortcoming and even make some mistakes in our work. However we've been working on a constant basis to improve our work."
Jiang Becomes the Leader of China
In 1989, Jiang replaced Zhao Ziyang—who had been purged for being too sympathetic to the students at Tiananmen Square—as Deng’s successor. Largely regarded as a compromise candidate, Jiang was named head of the party in 1990. In 1993, he was named president and chairman of the Cental Military Commission, a position that formally belonged to Deng. When he was offered the job, Jiang's wife reportedly burst into tears and told him not to take the job.
Jiang ran the day to day operations of the government during the years when Deng Xiaoping's health was declining. In the early 1990s he "wooed military leaders and moved his allies into key party and government positions" and surprised everyone by outmaneuvering rivals and securing his position in 1994. Jiang may have lacked charisma and revolutionary pedigree background but so did his rivals.
To increase his standing in the Party, Jiang Zemin reportedly "muscled his way" to Bill Clinton's side in a "class photo" at the United Nation's 50th anniversary. Jiang outmaneuvered one rival—Chen Xitong, the mayor of Beijing—by expelling him from the party for corruption in 1995.
After Deng's death in February 1997, Jiang dismissed scores of civilian, military and security officials, including his main Politburo rival Qiao Shi, and filled the positions people who were loyal to him, many of them from his Shanghai Gang. The Shanghaiese were so well represented in the upper echelons of power people joked that Politburo meetings were conducted in the Shanghai dialect.
People were surprised by the way Jiang seized the moment and took the bull by the horns. Still regarded as a transitional figure mocked with names like "weather vane" and a "flower pot” and "Comrade Caretaker," he displayed great skill outmaneuvering his rivals, networking, cultivated ties in the military and avoided making mistakes. He was often so cautious that he only read prepared speeches in public so he wouldn’t say anything wrong. One Hong Kong political analyst told Time, "We just didn’t believe Jiang was capable of commanding the necessary respect after Deng is gone." One official "I was predicting he would last one year or so" after Deng died.
Jiang Zemin as Leader
Jiang was known for steering a middle course without deviating too far to the left or right. Liberals criticized him for being too conservative and conservatives criticized him for being too liberal. His sharpest critics abroad called him directionless, lacking in vision and confused, saying he symbolized the directionless and confused nature of the Communist party.
Harvard professor Andrew Nathan called Jiang as a “slippery and devious politician whose priority” was “holding onto power.” At the height of his power around 2001, Jiang issued edicts without seeking a consensus among the party elders. Books like A Great Program for Comprehensively Strengthening Party Building, which contained of several of his speeches, became bestsellers.
Today, many look back on Jiang as being too much of an old style Communist, obsessed with ideological campaigns and sloganeering and requiring officials to engage in mandatory study sessions, which interfered with them doing their official duties. Some scholars claim that his ideological campaigns, such as the “Three Represents” was an efforts to justify social and economic changes in ideological terms.
Jiang Zemin Domestic Policy
Jiang was given credit for opening up China’s economy without causing any unrest, according to some, using Singapore as aodel for China. He had success avoiding turmoil and instability and claimed to be a corruption fighter even though some of his closest allies were knee deep in sleazy deals. Jiang launched a major crackdown on corruption, organized crime, smuggling, and other and descent called "Strike Hard.” Scores of suspected thieves, murderers and corrupt officials were arrested. Some 3,500 people were executed, including criminals arrested for non-violent crimes such gambling and drug smuggling, as part of the operation in 1996.
Strike Hard not only targeted criminals it also cracked down on "splittists" in Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. The Tibetan Daily warned "a long-term, bitter, complex, 'you die. I live' political battle with no possibility of compromise."
Jiang also launched a "Spiritual Civilization" Campaign See Society, Life
Sometimes it seems that Jiang did little more than try to articulate what was happening economically in China in Communist terms. One of his primary contributions in his later years was the “Three Represents,” a theory that held that “advanced forces” of entrepreneurship could coexist and thrive with the traditional Communist commitment to the working class.
The “Three Represents” was an attempt to modernize the Communist Party by being more inclusive and saying that it now represented: 1) “advanced productive forces,” 2) “advanced culture,” and 3) the traditional “masses.” Many saw “advanced productive forces” as another word for capitalists. Embrace of capitalists was a sign that traditionally socialist ideology was dead. Or as one Chinese Marxist scholar put it: “Communism...is a goal none of us will reach. It’s dozens of generations away.”
The “Three Represents” was introduced in the old fashioned Communist way with play called The Vanguard of an Era, featuring the stories of six heroes that personify the virtues of the theory. The theory itself was praised daily in the People Daily and other official newspapers. There was even some discussion that the “Three Represents” would be made part of the constitution along with Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory. A member of a “selected audience” told the People Daily “an audience of hundreds felt their souls fiercely shaken, and our eyes flowed with tears.”
Some have said the “Three Represents” is nothing more than a veiled justification for the creation on an elitist alliance of party officials, bureaucrats, intellectuals and businessmen that run China today.
In 2002, Jiang said the Communist Party was open to entrepreneurs, referred to in code as “social strata.” In a speech before the Party Congress, he said “We should admit into the part advanced elements of other social strata who accept the party’s program and constitution.”
Jiang Zemin Economic Policies
Jiang played a major role in switching the focal point of China’s economic growth from southern China to the Shanghai area and the Yangtze River Valley.
In a speech that was intended to show his independence Jiang blamed Deng's market reforms for a "crisis of morality" that "engendered social chaos and economic imbalance." Jiang said that what China needed was a dose of "good medicine"—Confucianism. Some of these ideas were not readily welcomed. A popular joke that circulated around the time of Deng's death went: "Under Mao we go to the countryside/ Under Deng we go into business/ Under Jiang we go out of business.”
Describing China during the early Jiang years, Journalist and China expert James McGregor wrote in the Washington Post, “China is simultaneously experiencing the raw capitalism of the robber baron era of the late 1800s; the speculative financial mania of the 1920s; the rural-to-urban migrations of the 1930s; the emergence of the first-car, first-home, first fashionable-clothes, first college-education, first-family-vacation, middle class consumer boom of the 1950s; and even aspects of the social upheaval similar to the 1960s.“
In the mid-1990s the Chinese economy became overheated. Local official were jailed for approving large projects without central government approval. Price controls were introduced. And thousands of workers were mobilized for emergency projects.
See Economic History
Jiang Zemin’s Foreign Policy
Jiang was generally given high marks for the way he handled international relations. He raised China’s status in the world and cultivated generally positive relations around the world, particularly with the United States. He oversaw the absorption of Hong Kong and Macau with relatively few problems but took a confrontational stance against Taiwan and Japan. Some say the military activity he launched against Taiwan was to appease hard liners and leaders in the People's Liberation Army who accused him of being weak.
In Beijing in June 1998, Clinton debated with Jiang on live television at the Great Hall of the People on human rights issues and Tibet. Clinton said the use of military force at Tiananmen Square was wrong. Jiang defended the crackdown as well as China's policy in Tibet, which Jiang said helped eliminate feudalism and was comparable to Lincoln's abolition of slavery during the American Civil War. At a state dinner with Clinton Jiang took a turn leading the Miliary Band of the People's Liberation Army.
On his visit to the United States in October, 1997 Jiang was photographed wearing a tri-corner colonial hat, rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and debated Clinton on human rights. Clinton set up his podium so he wouldn't tower over Jiang. Jiang was heckled by Tibetan rights protesters during a speech at Harvard.
Appearing on a “60 Minutes” segment taped in China in 2000, Jiang recited part of the Gettysburg Address in English. One of the last things Jiang did as president, in 2002, was visit the United States and met with U.S. President George Bush at his Texas ranch.
Yeltsin and Jiang did a big bear hug after signing a agreement to demilitarize the 4,300 mile border in November 1997.
Jiang Zemin's Last Years
Jiang resigned as the head of the Communist party in 2002 when he was 76 and stepped downn as president in 2003 as he was required by the constitution to do. The general feeling about Jiang was that he had done a good job but it was time for him to go. There were some snipes at him in the press. Jiang initially insisted that all members of the Politburo over 70, including himself, retire but was able to endure by keeping allies in key positions.
Jiang continued to handle foreign affairs after he retired as President. It was widely believed that he wanted to rule behind the scenes as Deng had done but he didn’t have the same stature, respect and affection as Deng to pull it off.
Jiang remained in the position of military chief (And the Central Commission of the People’s Republic of China, a largely ceremonial position). However in a rare show of disapproval .7.5 percent of the legislators in the rubber-stamp National People’s Congress vote against him or abstained. Jiang formally resigned the position of military chief in September 2004, citing poor health. There were reports he had serious health problems, throat cancer of heart trouble.
Rumors of Jiang's Death
Jiang did not appear at a Communist Party event in July 2011, sparking speculation on the internet that he had died. Authorities in Beijing dismissed reports of his death, and criticised the media for broadcasting the report. Jonathan Watts wrote the The Guardian, “Reports of the death of the former president Jiang Zemin have been greatly exaggerated, the Chinese state media has insisted, amid a frenzy of speculation online and overseas. In an unusual move, state news agency Xinhua issued a brief denial that the 84-year-old statesman had passed away to quell rumours that began on Friday when Jiang failed to attend the biggest political event of the year a 90th anniversary celebration to mark the founding of the Chinese Communist party. [Source: Jonathan Watts The Guardian, July 7, 2011]
Asia Television of Hong Kong broadcast a report on Wednesday claiming Jiang had died of an unnamed illness. Japanese and South Korean media issued similar bulletins. Chinese journalists said they had been told to expect news on Thursday, but the only comment was a single line from Xinhua. "Recent reports of some overseas media organisations about Jiang Zemin's death from illness are pure rumour," the newswire said, quoting unnamed "authoritative sources".
Despite the denial, speculation is unlikely to fully die down until Jiang is seen again in public. The last such big occasion was in October 2009 for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. Jiang was also present at an event in Sichuan last year, where his car was reportedly followed by an ambulance. Jiang is said to be suffering from an illness and possibly hospitalised, although it is hard to confirm because China treats the health of its leaders as a state secret.
Until today, censors have tried to quell speculation by blocking references to related words on blogs and search engines: "Jiang", "myocardial infarction", "hung" a euphemism for death and "301 Hospital" a reference to the medical facility where he was said to be treated. Searches for "jiang", which means river, resulted in the warning: "Search results are not shown due to relevant laws and policies." Netizens sidestepped the prohibition by using English words and allusions.
The US-based dissident news site Boxun.com said Shandong News in eastern China had its website disabled by authorities for reporting Jiang's death, though the newspaper dismissed Boxun's report. Boxun showed what it said was a screenshot of Shandong News with a banner headline reading "Venerable Comrade Jiang Zemin Will Never Be Forgotten" next to a photo of the former leader.
A woman in the news department at Shandong News said the newspaper's site went offline on Wednesday because its servers crashed and it was still trying to fix the problem. The woman, who would only give her surname, Wang, said the website never posted news saying Jiang had died. "That's a rumour," she said. "Maybe someone with ulterior motives made that screenshot." The internet cat-and-mouse game over the possible death of a former leader underscores how secretive China's Communist party leadership remains and the difficulties of maintaining that secrecy in a well-wired society.
Jiang's Appearance Ends Rumors
In October 2011, The Guardian reported: “Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin has made a rare public appearance in Beijing after months of speculation that he had died or was close to death.The 85-year-old appeared on stage with other former and current top Chinese leaders in the Great Hall of the People at an event commemorating the centennial of the 1911 revolution that overthrew imperial rule in China. Dressed in a dark blue suit and red tie, Jiang wore his signature large, square-rimmed glasses as he sat listening to speeches with his hands on the table in front of him. At times he appeared tired. [Source: The Guardian, October 19, 2011]
Jiang's failure to appear at a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the ruling Communist party in July prompting intense speculation that he had died. While the rumours were suppressed on the mainland, they were widely reported in Hong Kong. The Chinese government dismissed the reports as rumours.
Beijing's traditional secrecy on the health of top leaders is particularly marked ahead of next year's party congress, which is expected to confirm a transition in China's leadership.The death of Jiang, a retired but still influential figure, could cause some of his proteges to shift allegiance, affecting the jockeying for power among China's political elites. China prefers to keep such machinations behind the scenes.
Willy Lam wrote, “At the 17th Party Congress in 2007, Jiang also played a pivotal role in the selection of Vice President Xi Jinping, another princeling, as Hu’s presumptive successor as party chief and state president. Before he fell sick earlier this year, Jiang reportedly gave strong backing to Vice Premier Wang Qishan—the son-in-law of late Vice Premier Yao Yilin—to replace Wen Jiabao as premier shortly after the 18th Party Congress. This was despite the tacit understanding at the 17th Party Congress that Executive Vice Premier Li Keqiang, a stalwart of the CYL Faction and a key protégé of President Hu’s, would be given Wen’s job. [Source: Willy Lam, China Brief, Jamestown Foundation, October 28, 2011]
In December 2011, the BBC reported: Regulators have fined a Hong Kong TV station $39,000 (£25,000) for airing a report suggesting that former Chinese President Jiang Zemin had died. The Hong Kong Broadcasting Authority said Asia Television (ATV) had failed to ensure the accuracy of reports of the ex-leader's death on 6 July. ATV also took too long to correct the mistake, said the regulators. The Broadcasting Authority (BA) upheld a complaint against ATV, and said in a statement on its website on Monday that the channel had taken an "irresponsible approach in its response to BA's inquiry". [Source: BBC, December 6, 2011]
Zhu Rongji was the second most powerful man in China in the Jiang era. Viewed by many as more able than Jiang, he was smart, decisive, tough, humorous, blunt, short-tempered, and quick on his feet, uncompromising and incorruptible and beyond reproach. Video tapes of his press conferences became a best seller but his frankness and uncompromising style made many enemies, especially among hard liners.
Zhu was very intelligent, had a photographic memory, and was disgusted by corruption. He had little tolerance for people who he felt didn’t do their jobs and was notorious for upbraiding underlings who he thought screwed up. People who worked under him simply called him "boss." According to one story he scolded Li Peng so intensely for knowing nothing about economics, Li suffered a heart attack.
Zhu Rongji (pronounced Joo Rong-JI) was born in Changsa, Hunan on October 1, 1928. His family were rich land owners. Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Ming emperor, was one of his ancestors. His father died before he was born and his mother died when he was nine. Zhu received a degree in electrical engineering in 1949 from Beijing's Qinghua University, the M.I.T. of China, where he was chairman of the student union. He majored in electric engineering Zhu and his wife, Lao An, have two daughters. Little is know about his family.
Zhu Rongji's Political Career
Zhu joined the Communist Party in 1949 and worked as an industrial planner in the State Planning Commission. In 1957, during the Hundred Flowers movement, he made a speech criticizing China's economic policies and praising pragmatic economic reforms. He was purged and was forced to tend livestock in the northeast and do low-level teaching at technical schools.
Zhu was rehabilitated by Deng in 1982 after 20 years in political oblivion, and put on the fact track. Under Deng, Zhu was brought back as an economic planner and rose quickly through the ranks. Zhu taught economics at his alma matter Qinghua University, became dean of the school’s business school and established links with it and M.I.T.
In 1987, Zhu was named deputy Communist party chief. In 1988, he was named the mayor of Shanghai and worked under Jiang, the city’s party chief. Zhu made a name for himself leading a successful ant-corruption drive, attracting foreign investors, triggered a boom that continues today, and diffusing demonstrations during the Tiananmen Square crisis by appearing on television and making a direct appeal for calm.
When Zhu was mayor of Shanghai He was nicknamed Mr. One Chop because of efforts to reduce the number of chops or signatures on permits and bureaucratic documents. His reputaion for propeiety was unblemished, Once a relative asked him to bend the rules to get him a Shanghai residency permit. Zhu replied, "What I can do, I have done already. What I cannot do, I will never do."
Zhu Becomes Prime Minister
In 1991, Deng moved Zhu to Beijing and made him deputy Prime Minister. In 1992, he made a "triple jump" from the 300-member Central Committee past the 20-member Politburo to the 7-member Standing Committee, where he served as a top economic policy maker.
As Deng's economic czar, Zhu drew many admirers as he tamed inflation without snuffling out growth by devaluing the yuan in 1994 by 33 percent. He also laid the foundation for a banking system and and was named been as a possible recipient of the Nobel Prize for economics.
In 1997, Zhu was named Primer Minister of China. Sometimes called Zhi Fengzi ("Madman Zhu") for his swashbuckling style, he attacked reform; went after corrupt officials; insisted that smugglers be shot and poured over 16,000 letters a year with grievance from ordinary citizens. Zhu didn’t have any patrons. There was some tension between him and Jiang.
Zhu is regarded as the architect of the economic policies that ushered in China’s second wave of growth. He broke down trade barriers, cut runaway inflation, rescued China from the Asian economic crisis in 1997, sold off state enterprises, broke up monopolies, ended state planning, introduced competition and deregulation,. streamlined the bureaucracy and secured China’s membership to the World Trade Organization.
Zhu's tough minded policies included driving the military out of many of its commercial enterprises, reducing the number of easy loans and credits to money-losing state-owned enterprises, introducing a value added tax and diverting tax revenues to the central government. To create jobs he launched Keynesian public works programs.
See Economic History
When asked how he wanted to be remembered Zhuo Rongji said “as an incorruptible official.”
Li Peng was China's premier from 1987 to 1998. Known as "the Butcher of Beijing" for his role in the Tiananmen Square crackdown, Li is the one Chinese leader associated most with Tiananmen Square after Deng. He supported the order to declare martial law and has consistently defended the government's position. It is widely believed that he was one leading voices advocating that troops open fire on Tiananmen Square. Li Peng was the second most powerful man in China under Deng and Jiang and for a while was considered as a possible successor to Deng.
Li was a protegee of Zhou Enlai. He was portrayed as "wheedling, whining, gleefully backstabbing peers." A poet slipped in a verse in the People's daily that read: "Down with Li Peng, End people's rage." Peng was also a driving force behind the Three Gorges Dam project.
As of 2012 Li was the vice-governor of Shanxi and still wielded power behind the scenes. Isaac Stone Fish wrote in Foreign Policy: He is not officially a princeling, but he is the adopted son of Zhou Enlai, China's premier under Mao, a connection that helped him climb the ranks. Li managed the controversial Three Gorges Dam project, and two of his children inherited his love for power -- the electric kind. His daughter Li Xiaolin is the CEO of China Power International Development, which had revenues of $2.2 billion in 2010, and his son, currently vice-governor of Shanxi, one of China's major coal producing provinces, was formerly CEO of China Huaneng Group, one of the largest Chinese power generators. [Source: Isaac Stone Fish, Foreign Policy, May 30, 2012]
Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.
© 2008 Jeffrey Hays
Last updated April 2012