The "Third China" in the 21st Century

Wen Jiabao and Zeng Qinghong: The Two Centers of China's Fourth Generation


The Two Centers of China’s Fourth Generation:

Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Zeng Qinghong

By John Tkacik
May 2004

Those who thought China's politics would finally settle down into something more recognizable to Westerners with the putative ascendance of the a pro-reformist "Fourth Generation" of leaders in November 2002 must be disappointed. Long live the “Struggle Between Two Lines” which is still the hallmark of Chinese politics. This time, the factions are centered on China’s outgoing and incoming General Secretaries of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.

No sooner had the new General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Hu Jintao, been named on Friday, November 15, than Jiang Zemin, the outgoing Chairman of China's all-powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), had himself renamed to a fourth term. Jiang’s insistence that he remain as military commander while nominally relinquishing his political authority to the nine-member Standing Committee of Hu’s Politburo was a cynical gesture. After all, five, perhaps six, of the nine Standing Committeemen are Jiang’s hand-picked cronies. In fact, for support in China’s supreme governing body, the Politburo Standing Committee, incoming Party Chief Hu Jintao (the top ranked member of the SC) can only count on Premier Wen Jiabao, the SC’s third-ranking member. By contrast, in the previous Politburo, perhaps only one of Jiang’s colleagues on the seven-man standing committee could be counted on to vote solidly with Jiang. In short, the retired Jiang is much more influential in the current 16th Party Congress Politburo than he ever was in the 15th Congress leadership.

Can President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao break Jiang’s grip on power? Have they already tried? Are they succeeding? As one wag puts it, “Hu and Wen are the main questions of China’s politics.”

Introduction: China’s “Two Centers”

For the first time since the end of the Cultural Revolution, there is now emerging a new center of power to compete with the Party/Government center with “Comrade Hu Jintao as its General Secretary.” Aligned against President Hu and Premier Wen are Jiang’s people in the Party/Government and Jiang himself as military commander-in-chief in the CMC. Wu Bangguo, the new chair of the National People’s Congress (and second-ranking to Hu in the party hierarchy) was Jiang’s vice mayor in Shanghai during the 1980s and Jiang elevated him to Party Chief/Mayor as soon as Zhu Rongji departed for Beijing. Fourth ranked Jia Qinglin, now chair of China’s “second legislature”, the powerless Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), is another Jiang loyalist. In 1995, Jia was chosen by Jiang to replace Beijing’s corrupt but powerful mayor Chen Xitong, but Jia has his own unsavory reputation.

Zeng Qinghong, the fifth ranking member of the Standing Committee and successor in Hu Jintao’s ceremonial position as Vice President, had also been with Jiang continually since the 1980s and remains Jiang’s most trusted confidant. Huang Ju, Jiang’s hand- picked successor to Wu Bangguo as Shanghai party boss, was as colorless and unimaginative an apparatchik as Shanghai had seen in decades. And the former Guangdong Party Chief, Li Changchun, was Jiang’s choice to be Premier rather than Wen Jiabao -- a decision that not even Jiang could push through given Li’s own shady reputation. The two others in the Standing Committee are Central Discipline Inspection Commission chair, Wu Guanzheng -- also thought to be a Jiang protégé -- and Luo Gan, a co-factionalist of outgoing NPC Chairman and former Premier Li Peng. Luo was not chosen to help Hu and Wen balance Jiang Zemin’s influence on the Standing Committee, but rather to look after Li Peng’s affairs.

In fact, when the smoke had cleared from the 16th Party Congress in November 2002, Jiang Zemin was in a far more powerful position than before his retirement from the Party and State chairmanships. Most of his traditional rivals and opponents in the top leadership -- Li Ruihuan, Qiao Shi, and even the long-suffering Zhu Rongji -- were gone.

In short -- Jiang Zemin has not even pretended to transfer power to the rising and young-ish “Fourth Generation”. Instead, he plans to rule through them. But just in case his protégés prove not to be as loyal as he might want, he decided to retain his control of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by keeping his grip on the Central Military Commission chairmanship. At the time, this was a certain disappointment to Hu Jintao and about-to-be Premier Wen Jiabao who had reportedly plotted through the summer of 2002 to maneuver Jiang into retirement. But both of those gentlemen were well tempered in the twilight struggle of Beijing’s internecine power plays, and both are by all accounts superbly intelligent, so they must know their limits.

Their stratagem in a campaign to pry Jiang’s fingers from the reins of power seems to be “bide our time and hide our strengths”. Immediately upon being named Party head on November 15, Hu Jintao pledged his fealty to Jiang’s “Three Represents” theory and quickly assured the elder leader that in all “important matters” he would see to it that the Politburo sought Jiang’s guidance and leadership before a decision is reached. Of course, this raised the embarrassing specter that Hu might not take power at all, but rather cede it by default to Jiang and his cohorts.

On Saturday, November 16, the military's propaganda organ, the People's Liberation Army Daily (PLAD), proudly declared the loyalty of the "broad mass of the officers and ranks of the entire army" to the Party Center "with comrade Hu Jintao as secretary general" and to the CMC with "Comrade Jiang Zemin as leader". By Monday, November 18, two Taiwan newspapers reported on the anomalous split loyalty within days.

Fast forward to March 2003 and the eve of the National People's Congress (NPC) which -- some observers devoutly but vainly prayed -- might see CMC Chairman Jiang finally relinquish leadership of the military and turn over this final, essential rein of power to the younger, fresher, more reformist Hu Jintao. But it was not to be. The NPC merely reaffirmed Jiang as the Chairman of the state CMC, a protocolary nicety for the already incumbent Party CMC chair.

What was odd, however, was the appearance in print -- in the PLAD, no less -- of a number of comments and quotable quotes from upper ranking PLA officers in the Army's NPC delegation.

After listening to a speech given by Jiang Zemin (reported by the March 4th PLAD), generals Gu Huisheng and Ai Husheng serving as PLA deputies to the NPC, complained that "many centers means no center, which will lead to no achievement." They then explained the metaphysical truth behind the Chinese characters for “center” (zhong), “loyalty” (zhong), and “disaster” (huan). "One ‘zhong’ (center) and one ‘xin’ (heart) together make one loyalty, but piecing two ‘zhongs’ together to one ‘xin’ gives one ‘huan’, a disaster." They explained that “having ‘two centers’ means no center at all.” These were not just you average PLA malcontents speaking, either. Major-General Gu is deputy chief of the Nanjing Military Region political department and General Ai runs the PLA’s Information Technology Warfare Unit, although he is “far better remembered as the colonel who led the first regiment to occupy Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, and got rid of demonstrating students with bloodshed.”

Thus continues a "struggle between two lines" that has been a staple of the China-watching trade for five decades. As of September 2003, a clear dividing line has emerged between the inchoate Hu Jintao faction and the firmly-established "Shanghai Faction" (or the "Shanghai Gang" as the Hong Kong press irreverently calls them) under the "Core of the Third Generation, Comrade Jiang Zemin."

Wen and Zeng: Faction Leaders

This paper is the first of two that will contrast the two secondary figures at the top of Beijing’s two leadership factions now vying for preeminence in China's political structure. Wen Jiabao is the urbane, intellectual, "reformist" and self-effacing Premier of China who has been at the center of power in Beijing for nearly 15 years -- and is the focus of this study. Zeng Qinghong is the ambitious, canny, determined capo de capo of Jiang's Shanghai gang who is China's titular Vice President, and he will be the focus of a future study. Premier Wen has quietly built up a base of support among Beijing's party and government bureaucracy over a decade and a half of competent management in the CCP Politburo Secretariat. Vice President Zeng's influence, on the other hand, has come with a decade of service as Chairman Jiang Zemin's chief of staff in both the Party and the Military.

Wen's ties with the bureaucracy are bolstered by a reputation for scholarly and serious analysis of issues, proven leadership in crises and genuine consideration of all sides of a policy debate. Zeng's ties with the party and military come from a career of recommending suitable promotions and appointments for Jiang loyalists during a period when Jiang's leadership suffered from sniping and harassment from other Politburo heavyweights. But more importantly, Zeng's ties with the military are the rightful legacy of a man to the revolution born. His father, Zeng Shan, headed the CCP's main base area before the legendary "Long March", his mother was one of only five female cadres to survive the March, his brothers are all generals in the PLA, and his sister, Major General Zeng Haisheng is apparently the highest-ranking woman in the PLA.

Both Premier Wen and Vice President Zeng are technocrats of a sort. The Premier is a published geologist with the equivalent of a doctorate, while the Vice President graduated from an aeronautical college with a degree in automated systems and served as a rocket engineer with the military in the 1960s. Vice President Zeng has also taken a keen interest in China's space program and can be counted on to identify himself prominently with the October 2003 launch of China's first manned space vehicle.

But given these contrasting figures who hold rival positions in the Chinese leadership, what are the implications for China's economic future if either gains the ascendancy -- or if both manage to coexist in separate leadership spheres for an extended period?

Wen Jiabao: The Early Years

As Chinese politicians go, Wen Jiabao is an attractive figure. He is fit and trim with a well-chisled face, he is from humble origins, and by all accounts he is personable and engaging. He is also an avowed reformist with a feeling of dedication for China's common people, a policy trait that is far less obvious in Zeng Qinghong, or indeed anyone in the "Shanghai" camp. Premier Wen's policy focus since his promotion to vice premier in 1998 has been China's financial crisis -- perhaps the single biggest challenge facing China's economic planners in the early 21st Century. But when he appeared at the Great Hall of the People on March 18, 2003 for his inaugural press conference with foreign reporters, he promised to make the battle to narrow China's widening income gap and pushing rural and urban development a "priority of priorities".

A look at Wen's background may help to illuminate his policy predilections. Wen Jiabao was born in the outskirts of Japanese-occupied Tianjin in September 1942 to rural school-teacher's family. His father, Wen Gang, was a geology instructor at a Tianjin middle school, and his mother, Yang Xiulan taught grammar at a Tianjin elementary school. Young Jiabao's grandfather, Wen Yingshi, ran a rural schoolhouse at the Wen family home at No. 8 Wenjia Hutong in the village of Yixingfu just north of the city. Jiabao thrived in simple brick and adobe compound, taught by his grandfather during the days and by his parents in the evenings. Though impoverished, young Jiabao absorbed an appreciation for Chinese calligraphy and painting that has lasted his lifetime.

Another thing that served him well in later life was his grandfather's passion for Tang Dynasty poetry. Young Jiabao was said to have memorized half of the ancient classic 300 Tang Poems, roughly the equivalent of memorizing three Shakespeare plays. In addition to his innate intelligence, Jiabao’s excellent memory made him a star pupil. His interest in geology, on the other hand, came at his father's knee. In addition to gaining a deep appreciation for literature and science early in life, Wen also got his first taste of war and the value of family. Certainly, one of the most traumatic experiences of his early childhood was the sacking of his village, the torching of the family compound and school, and the murder of his grandfather at the end of 1948 during the civil war. In January 1949, the Tianjin area was occupied by the PLA’s Fourth Field Army, and finally Jiabao’s grand uncle Wen Pengjiu, an aide to Zhou Enlai, turned up to help the family of his dead brother along the road to recovery.

With his family tutelage in literature and science, and a war-time child’s determination to survive, Jiabao was a precocious student. In 1954 he was admitted into Tianjin's prestigious Nankai middle school, the alma mater of China's revered Premier Zhou Enlai. Middle school must have been a glorious time for the youth. His teachers remember him fondly -- but Wen is now Premier, so that is to be expected. Still, Wen has made three unannounced private trips back to the Nankai campus since 1990 where he called on his old teachers and gave encouraging talks to the startled youngsters who hadn't been notified of the old boy's appearance. The dean of Nankai's junior class in 1959 claims to have a clear memory of young Jinbao's "focus, discipline, and firm-study habits", but she also recalled Wen as being introverted and "frustrated if he wasn't quickly able to 'eat up' what he read."

Upon graduating from Nankai and getting top marks in the national university exams, Wen was guaranteed acceptance to any of China's most impressive schools, and certainly nearby Beijing or Tsinghua universities must have been attractive. But Wen chose his father's profession and took a place at Beijing Institute of Geology, the country's top geology school which boasted a teaching staff with American and European (rather than Soviet) training. Again, Wen performed superbly and on the eve of his May 1965 graduation, the institute's party organization approved Wen's membership in the Chinese Communist Party. Immediately, he was accepted as a research student in the Institute's graduate program to study "sectoral" geology with a concentration on mining. The graduate program exposed him to scholarly journals from a broad range of foreign countries -- mostly English, a language for which he is said to have a fairly advanced reading facility.

An unhappy drawback of the Beijing Geology Institute was its centrality to the bloody Red Guard rivalries in Beijing during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) which exploded on the scene in May 1966. As a "red and expert" student, Wen penned a big character poster urging the school's party committee to "shake up a revolution" (nao geming) and attacking the school's "bourgeois educational mindset". But it didn't insulate Wen from being attacked by his fellow students for his dubious class background. Wasn't his grandfather a petit bourgeoise, after all? Perhaps so, but fortunately, his grandfather's elder brother Pengjiu had also been a roomate of Premier Zhou Enlai's top aide [later foreign minister] Qiao Guanhua and was a senior Tianjin cadre in his own right. Pengjiu’s influence was not enough to save Wen's parents from doing an obligatory year in the countryside for their pre-revolutionary sins of capitalism, but Jiabao himself suffered little. Little, that is, until 1968, the year of the cataclysmic July 27 Red Guard battles in Beijing when screaming fanatics from the Geology Institute's "Earth Faction" and the Aeronautical University's "Heaven Faction" (all joined by co-factionalists from Tsinghua University) butchered and maimed each other in fighting that lasted the entire day. The "7-27 Incident" was the breaking point for Mao Zedong who finally ordered the People's Liberation Army to clean out the city of students and ship them all off to the countryside to cool off -- forever, as far as he was concerned.

In the Gansu Wilderness

Up to the previous February, Wen Jiabao remained at the Institute, unable to continue his studies, but already finished with the equivalent of a doctoral program. That month, he was ordered to serve as a "technician" with the Gansu Provincial Geodynamics Unit in Jiuquan -- a desert town near "Jade Gate" at the distant extremity of the Great Wall of China. Shivering in the late winter winds on the platform at Beijing Station, he didn't realize how fortunate he would be to miss the upcoming violent climax of political activism at his alma mater. As his grand-uncle, Wen Pengjiu, saw him off at the train station, the words of a Tang poem beclouded him: "The Spring Breezes never reach Jade Gate Pass."

Winds came with a vengeance during one of his first field studies that summer. In the wastes of Gansu, he and three fellow cadres were caught a black-night rainstorm which collapsed their tents three times before it was over. The rains flooded their camp, and Wen is credited with saving the lives of his colleagues that night. Wen later came to be an expert in flash flooding, something that came in handy later in his life when he was put in charge of relief work for the once-in-a-century Yangtze basin floods in 1998.

One account says that young Wen hadn’t been in Gansu long before “factional struggles” sent him to a farm to do manual labor. Nearly two decades later, after Wen had been named deputy director of the Central Office, “some people in Jiuquan sent a letter to Beijing accusing Wen of being in the “vanguard of the ‘Criticize Lin Biao, Criticize Confucius’ movement” in the town, and said that he was a “ardent critic of Deng Xiaoping”, and had “destroyed old cadres.” In an attempt to get to the bottom of the matter, the Central Organization Department sent inspectors to Jiuquan four separate times, and in the end gave Wen a thumbs-up.

After a decade working as a field geologist in outback Gansu, Wen amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of the province's geoforms and used his superior analytical and literary skills to produce volumes of valuable and unprecedented scientific reporting for the Ministry of Geology in Beijing.

“Spring Breezes” eventually came to “Jade Gate Pass” when Jiabao met a young female gemologist from the 1976 class of the Lanzhou University geology department, Zhang Peili. In Beijing, Wen had been seeing one young woman, but she was assigned away from Beijing after graduation. Wen is also said to have had three co-eds eyeing him while he was in Jiuquan, but Zhang Peili “took the most initiative” often volunteering to do his laundry and “snagging his heart”. Zhang is considered an extrovert, nicely balancing Wen’s natural reticence.

Two children (a son Wen Yunsong and a daughter Wen Ruchun) eventually came to the couple -- both of whom are apparently studying in the United States. And eventually a promotion came to Wen as well. In 1978, after a decade of mapping geologic outcroppings and tapping at rocks and crystals in the Gansu desert, Wen was appointed as “Member of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee of the Geomechanics Survey Team under the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and Deputy Team Chief.” His service as part of the Team’s party committee must have convinced higher-ups in Lanzhou that Wen Jiabao had what it took to be a management-level cadre, because in 1979 he was promoted to be a deputy section head in the Gansu Provincial Geological Bureau and given the academic title of “engineer”. In 1981 he was promoted yet again as deputy executive director of the provincial geology bureau.

It was also fortunate for Wen’s career that the Communist Party Chief in Gansu Province happened to be Song Ping, a former secretary to Zhou Enlai. In August of 1980, Song mulled a new directive from Beijing ordering the retirement of overage cadres and their replacement with significantly younger ones. A seasoned veteran of Beijing’s intrigues, Song also knew that the Beijing was going to need a new generation of cadres to fill slots in the central party and government bureaucracy, and he began to look around his Gansu domain for likely candidates. His first choice was an obvious one -- one young Hu Jintao, a graduate of Tsinghua University, which was Song’s alma mater of sorts, and more importantly a protégé of Song’s wife, Chen Shunyao, who had been the University’s deputy party in the early 1960s when Hu’s application for Communist Party membership was approved. There is no doubt that Mrs. Song knew and liked young Jintao.

But Song’s other choice for promotion to Beijing was Wen Jiabao, although Song apparently did not know Wen Jiabao personally. Rather, visiting Beijing Minister of Geology Sun Daguang, made the recommendation to Party Chief Song Ping after a particularly successful visit to Gansu in early spring of 1982. Minister Sun had been impressed by the quality of reporting from Gansu and went out to see the province himself. He was also in the process of hacking away the ministry’s deadwood and was on the lookout for new talent. A few days with Wen Jiabao convinced him that he had found a good prospect. “Wen Jiabao, that’s the man I want, bring him to Beijing, he has the makings of a minister,” is how Sun approached Song Ping with the idea. Song then canvassed the provincial geology bureau with a questionnaire -- “who would be best suited for a job in Beijing?” and the answer was pretty unanimous -- “Wen Jiabao.”

According to the Yang Zhongmei biography, Song then did his own background check. Satisfied that Wen had the right stuff, he gave Wen’s transfer his personal seal of approval. And by October 1982, just as the Twelfth Party Congress was ending, Wen arrived in Beijing to take up his post as director of mining policy and a member of the ministry’s party committee.

Wen Jiabao in Beijing

The scholarly and thoughtful Wen Jiabao continued to impress his colleagues, and after a certain probation period, Minister Sun Daguang promoted him to Vice-minister of Geology and Mineral Resources, deputy secretary of its “Leading Party Members Group” and director of the ministry’s political department where Wen served for two years overseeing the ministry’s planning and financial policies.

By this time, Song Ping had been transferred to the Party Center in Beijing where he took over the all-powerful State Planning Commission. When Geology Minister Sun Daguang heard through the grapevine that the Party’s General Secretary was looking for a bright young candidate to help the overworked Wang Zhaoguo as deputy director of the CPC Central Committee’s General Office, he immediately called Song Ping and suggested they push to get vice minister Wen into the job. Other candidates for the slot were a deputy party secretary in Shanghai, Wu Bangguo, and State Council secretary general Wang Zhongyu. And in October 1985, after all the dossiers were reviewed, Wen Jiabao got the job.

It was the first completely non-technical job Wen had ever had. Again, Wen apparently fit right in with Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang’s frenetic, avuncular and free-wheeling style on the party side and Premier Zhao Ziyang’s worried, methodical and theoretical reformism on the government side. In 1987, after Hu Yaobang’s fall from grace and Zhao’s appointment as Party Chief, Wen was put on Zhao’s “Political Structural Reform Small Group” and also had a hand in economic reform policies. Zhao also placed Wen as deputy director of the preparatory commission for the 13th Party Congress on October, and Wen is said to have ensured that Zhao’s policies survived the debates of that seminal meeting.

Zhao also rewarded Wen Jiabao with a seat on the Communist Party’s Central Committee and was made the only alternate member of the influential party center’s Secretariat. It is notable that at this time, although Hu Jintao was the Party’s youngest provincial leader, he ranked well ahead of Hu in the party structure -- and was a scant three months older than the Guizhou party chief. But China was going through a rough adjustment to Deng Xiaoping’s capitalistic reforms. Not only was inflation nearing 40% at one point in 1987, but political relaxations had released an extravagance of new thinking among intellectuals. There was a clamor to re-impose the discipline of central planning structures to stabilize commodity pricing, and a howl for “spiritual civilization” to counteract political forces that undermined the Party’s legitimacy.

Tiananmen Boils Over

This reactionary countercurrent was resisted by China’s young intelligentsia, and their frustrations erupted in mass demonstrations on April 17 when their patron saint, Hu Yaobang, died unexpectedly. The demonstrations grew and expanded, and accreted all manner of sympathizers -- students, laborers, government bureaucrats, even police. Housewives, shopkeepers, private entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, all joined in. The demonstrations moved early on to Central Beijing’s kilometer-square Tiananmen, and there they stayed, day and night, drawing masses of over a million to tell the central authorities they were fed up.

By the evening of May 19, 1989, Wen Jiabao had become known in party circles as General Secretary Zhao Ziyang’s man in the Secretariat and the Central Office. So it was unsurprising that Wen accompanied Secretary Zhao in the persistent drizzle to Tiananmen Square for a call on hunger-strikers. As Wen somberly held an umbrella over Zhao’s head, Zhao choked out a rambling apology -- he had been unable to prevent the use of force against the demonstrators. That day, the party center had approved the use of force in the Square, and as Zhao spoke, hundreds of thousands of People’s Liberation Army troops were mobilizing for deployment to Beijing.

On May 23, Deng Xiaoping summoned Shanghai’s party secretary Jiang Zemin to Beijing to inform him that he was to replace Zhao Ziyang as the CCP’s General Secretary. Deng then ordered Jiang to return to Shanghai and detain National People’s Congress Chairman, Wan Li, on his emergency return to China from the United States. Jiang was gentle in his detention, placing Wan in a local hospital to help him recover from the stresses of the demands of the Tiananmen demonstrations. Of course, some believed that Wan would have mobilized the NPC to support Zhao Ziyang had he been able to return to Beijing, but fortunately, his plane was scheduled to arrive in Shanghai first.

Wen’s survival of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre is a case study in communist party ethics. Shortly after the June 4th disaster, Wen remained prominent in the media, while Zhao Ziyang became a non-person. A bit tardily, on June 8, Wen wrote on behalf of the “Labor Committee of Central Government Agencies” to congratulate the Party Center for crushing the Tiananmen “turmoil” and returning the country to stability, and signed as the Committee chief. On June 12, Wen accompanied CCP Central Standing Committee Member Qiao Shi to call on the martial law troops and a number of People’s Armed Police (PAP) units which had participated in the Tiananmen operation, followed by a visit to wounded soldiers being cared for in Beijing’s hospitals. On June 19, he accompanied Premier Li Peng on calls to family members of PLA and PAP soldiers killed in the action.

Despite Wen’s outward expression of support for the Tiananmen action, there were those in the leadership who wanted a thoroughgoing housecleaning of all Zhao Ziyang factionalists. Li Xiannian and Wang Zhen, among others, called for Wen’s removal explicitly, and Li Peng and the Executive Vice Premier Yao Yilin seconded the motion. The Hong Kong press was rife with rumors that the head of the young, intelligent, attractive reformist of the Zhao camp was on the chopping block.

I remember asking knowledgeable party cadres in Guangzhou about Wen Jiabao in September 1989 with the thought that if Wen went, reformism in China was dead. But I was universally assured that Wen would not only endure, he would prevail. Unbeknownst to me, party leaders in Beijing were making exactly the opposite argument. At first, retired Geology Minister Sun Daguang, sent a note to the party center saying that he had nominated Wen for the Central Office Director job only after a rigorous review of his political background. He was certain that Wen was sound. Sun, a reliable “old revolutionary” sent his report to Party elders Peng Zhen and Bo Yibo, both of whom had also dealt with Wen. They, too, seconded Sun’s testament.

Perhaps Wen’s most important post-Tiananmen support came from Song Ping who had just been named as one of the six top Party leaders in the Politburo Standing Committee. Although Song had not directly recommended Wen for any positions, he had signed off on all of them, and even he agreed that Wen Jiabao’s credentials as a reliable communist were impeccable. By accompanying Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang to Tiananmen Square on the night of May 19th, and holding his umbrella in the drizzle, Wen was only doing his job. It demonstrated “loyalty to the organization”, he said, not to the man. Wen has since put the Tiananmen issue behind him, at least in public.

Wen remained in the central office, but had to deal with a new reality. The incoming Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin had arrived in Beijing with only one assistant, Zeng Qinghong from Shanghai. All Jiang asked was that Zeng be placed in the CCP’s Central Office as a deputy to Wen Jiabao. Whether this reflected Jiang’s or Zeng’s appreciation of the importance of the CCP Central Office in shaping political agendas is unknown, but it is clear that from the beginning, Wen expected Zeng to replace him as the policy traffic-cop in the CCP’s Central Committee. Wen apparently got along splendidly with newcomer Zeng.

Reform, PLA infighting and the 14th Party Congress

In January 1992, Deng Xiaoping was frustrated by the lack of progress on economic reforms at the hands of Premier Li Peng and the central planners of the CCP’s orthodox wing. Time was running out for Deng. He was becoming ever more frail, and the 14th Party Congress to be held that October would be his last chance to leave his imprint on Marxist thought. Forging a coalition that would pay obeisance to reforms and establishing “Deng Theory” in the canon of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics became a desperate priority for him. He launched the so-called “Southern Progress” (Nan Xun) in Guangdong to popularize his new ideology -- “whatever benefits increasing the comprehensive strength (zonghe liliang) of the socialist state, whatever benefits the improvement of the people’s standard of living, that is socialism.” He urged the Party to reject its obsession with “rightist” tendencies, and instead focus on the “important thing, to oppose ‘leftism’.”

Jiang’s aide Zeng Qinghong was instrumental in getting Jiang to buy on to this vision, and Wen Jiabao aided Zeng in this effort. With a bit of maneuvering, Zeng and Wen managed to put Jiang Zemin in Deng Xiaoping’s camp -- in opposition to Li Peng and Li’s mentor Chen Yun who was Deng’s rival in the top ranks of China’s powerful but rapidly aging ranks of “Old Revolutionaries.” But more importantly, Deng had the support of the People’s Liberation Army which, in the person of President Yang Shangkun and his “half-brother” Yang Baibing hoped to solidify their control of the Army with Deng’s aid. In their Byzantine machinations of Beijing’s factional struggle, the “Yang Brothers” were on the verge of outflanking Jiang Zemin’s titular role as Central Military Commission chair by offering Deng Xiaoping the PLA’s support of Deng’s reforms despite Jiang’s theretofore lack of enthusiasm for ideological battles.

Instead, Zeng (with Wen Jiabao’s help) convinced Jiang, not only to support the reforms against the Old Revolutionaries, but also to enlist the sympathies of Old Soldiers who implacably hated the “Yang Brothers” and their bald-faced attempt to consolidate their hold on PLA promotions. It remains conjecture, but it may well be that Wen was the one who identified the vulnerability of Jiang’s rivals. By September 1992, an impressive phalanx of old generals wrote an open letter to Deng Xiaoping and the CPC Central Committee hinting, in the words of one Hong Kong journal, that the “Yang Brothers” were “left one moment, and right the next,” and “feigning compliance with Deng Xiaoping.” The old generals had no beef with Deng, but their real targets were the Yangs. In the end, Deng determined that the “Yang Brothers” were a divisive force in the military and ordered that they be removed from authority in the PLA. With them gone, Jiang Zemin was the undisputed chief civilian leader in the Central Military Commission, and the way was open for him to exert his influence in the Army ranks by virtue of his prerogative in general rank promotions.

In the run-up to the 14th Party Congress in October 1992, Wen worked closely with Zeng, as well as with Song Ping (now in charge of CPP organization work) and Song’s protégé, the ailing Tibetan Party Chief Hu Jintao, to map out the blueprint for the Congress. The Party Charter (dang zhang) for the 14th Congress also did something remarkable – it named elevated “Deng Xiaoping Theory” to equal status with “Mao Zedong Thought”. At the same time, the Jiang Zemin read the Party Work Report to explain what it meant to be the “Core of the Third Generation of Leaders”. The term “core” had little meaning in the CCP glossary until it was defined formally in Jiang’s Political Report to the 14th Congress: “the central leading collective of the first generation, with comrade Mao Zedong as the core . . . [and] the central leading collective of the second generation, with comreade Deng Xiaoping as the core. . .”
In the process, Hu Jintao managed to snag himself a prize -- a seat on the CPP Politburo Standing Committee, leap-frogging into the top council of China’s leadership at the age of 49. Wen was just as happy to be promoted to an alternate Politburo position and retain his seat in the CCP Secretariat.

Truth be known, Wen was in line for a vice premiership. Jiang Zemin hoped to buy Wen’s loyalty by putting him in charge of the State Council’s agricultural policy, but the ardent lobbying of Premier Li Peng turned a vice premiership over to Jiang Chunyun, a Li Peng partisan, and the Agricultural portfolio went to the new executive Vice Premier Zhu Rongji. Although Zhu had been Jiang’s successor as Shanghai party chief, he owed little (or nothing) to Jiang. Rather his ascent to the senior vice premiership was at the insistence of Deng Xiaoping which had been consistently impressed by Zhu’s capable management of Shanghai’s reforms following Jiang’s ascent to the top spot in Beijing.

Premier Zhu Rongji’s Idea Man on Agricultural Policy

But Zhu seemed to appreciate Wen Jiabao’s talents as much as Jiang, and Zhu named Wen to be his deputy in the Party’s newly created “Leading Group on Agriculture”. In January 1993, Zeng Qinghong formally replaced Wen Jiabao as Central office director, and Wen was left with little else to do but assist Vice Premier Zhu in agricultural policy. It was a daunting task. At first the Vice Premier focused on the plight of the peasant, viewing rural poverty and the growing income gap with the urban coastal regions as a potential source of catastrophic instability. Throughout 1993, Wen Jiabao penned all central-level directives and media commentaries on rural policy. Moreover, agricultural issues were a back-burner case for Jiang Zemin, and Wen’s task rapidly became a thankless one -- one for which he would bear the responsibility if rural development suddenly were to become a crisis. Jiang was becoming adept at giving hard tasks to cadres outside his own faction. They were, after all, expendable.

Even so, Wen Jiabao had nothing else to do, so he took it as his own. Over the coming months and years, Wen successfully kept agricultural issues on Vice Premier Zhu’s radar screen, drafting a five-point policy directive in May 1993 calling for reductions in the peasants’ growing tax burdens, opening credit channels via state banks, and slamming local cadres who levied arbitrary and (more often) capricious fees on the already poverty-stricken farmers. Vice Premier Zhu, who by this time had taken over the most substantive economic portfolios from Premier Li Peng, was impressed by Wen’s tenacity. Zhu himself declared that “Agriculture is the foundation of the nation, without the farmers there is no stability.” Wen accompanied the vice premier on an inspection tour of rural Hunan in May, and was shocked to learn of the dire straits the locals had landed in. He ordered the locals in Changde district to get development capital via the state banks and said “here’s my telephone number, call me when you get the money”. Zhu wanted to know if his orders would be followed.

With the full backing and authority of the vice premier (though perhaps without his constant attention), Wen Jiabao pushed ahead with agricultural policy development. In June 1994, Wen penned a major commentary in Qiu Shi (Seek Truth), the Party’s most prestigious theoretical journal. The Party’s policy goals in the rural areas included efficient distribution of farm inputs and produce, stable prices for inputs but steadily increasing prices for farm outputs, the development of rural industries and services, expansion of market structures, extended land use contracts, and he called for increased government investment in the agricultural sector and a systematic reform of the pricing structures.

In March of 1995, Wen wrote another commentary for Qiu Shi outlining the “Seven Major Problems In Agriculture” and discussed their remedies in terms of creating an exchange market for land use rights, vastly improved rural education, relaxing rural labor mobility, developing the light industrial potential of the farm sector, strengthening political supervision at the basic levels, and finally deepening “spiritual civilization” in the countryside with an emphasis on “democratic rule of law.”

He himself might have said that if a rural lemon orchard had a bad harvest, he should turn the crop into lemonade. By the time of the CCP’s 15th Party Congress in October 1997, Wen Jiabao’s stock had risen so high that he was finally put in charge of the Central Committee Secretariat, and in 1998 he was appointed to a vice premiership -- that year, he was the only new vice premier. For the rest of his five-year tenure as vice premier, Wen made agricultural reforms the centerpiece of his accomplishments.

Wen Jiabao and the Floods of 1998

In April 1998, he was also made head of the emergency flood task force and in May he was named head of the State Council’s “Leading Small Group on Agricultural Poverty.”

As luck would have it, August 1998 saw the heaviest floods in recent Chinese memory. On August 1, the Jiayi levee in Hubei burst its banks killing and injuring several thousand PLA troops assigned to engineering work on the structure. On August 4, the Jiangzhou levee collapsed making 40,000 homeless in the rains. On August 5, the Hubei provincial government reported that waters from the Yangtse river had challenged the lip of the Xingzhou levee two, three times. If the Levee were breached, it would endanger the entire Wuhan municipal region. According to the Yang Zhongmei book, the summer leadership meeting at Beidaihe on August 7 placed all the responsibility for flood emergency operations and relief on Vice Premier Wen Jiabao (though it seems that the Center had taken its sweet time about even calling a meeting to address the issue).

The Vice Premier finally arrived in Xingzhou on August 9 to take charge of the engineering work and ordered up 4,000 troops from the Fifteenth Airborne Army and the Guangzhou Military Region. For the next several days, state television repeatedly aired footage of the Vice Premier directing rescue efforts while, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, “treading through muddy waters and shouting through bullhorns in the rain.” It’s hard to see what Wen actually did, however. The Yang Zhongmei biography essentially had Wen ordering the PLA engineers not to take action that might exacerbate flooding in other areas, but not doing anything at the scene that actually helped the situation. In the months following the flood, however, Wen turned his attention to avoiding the problems that magnified the disasters of the August 1998 floods and promulgating relief and insurance policies that would aid the victims.

Nonetheless, Wen once again snatched success from the jaws of a very nasty mess. Had the Xingzhou levee a disintegrated and the floodwaters inundated Wuhan, vice premier Wen would probably have been forced to resign. As it was, he gave every appearance of being a cool, intelligent, take-charge leader.

Learning the Complexities of State Finance

As if Wen didn’t have enough to do in 1998, he was named to the “CCP Central of the Financial Work Committee” in June to help cope with the growing dislocations sparked by the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998. He also held the posts of secretary general Central Financial and Economic Leading Group and deputy head of the State Scientific and Technical Leading Group, the highest decision-making body on China's economic and financial policies. Jiang Zemin chaired the task force, with Zhu Rongji and Wu Bangguo as deputies, but Wen was the workaday chief backed up by China’s central bank governor Dai Xianglong as his deputy and a dozen or so other members, including the governors of four state-owned commercial banks, i.e. the Bank of China, China Agricultural Development, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and China Construction Bank -- all concerned with banking sector reform, specifically the management of nongovernmental deposits, credits, enterprise financing, current account settlements, foreign exchange transactions, and other activities. Over the coming five years, China would confront a series of highly complex adjustments in its financial structures, including developing institutionalized financial oversight and supervision, resolving the nonperforming loan and of bad asset crisis in the state-owned commercial banks, marketizing interest rates, and creating a competition environment for the financial industry.

Although Vice Premier Wen Jiabao was seen as an intelligent and organized man, his appointment as the primary manager of China’s financial reforms “astonished the outside world”. Wen, after all, had never been involved in financial policies before. But he had a knack for pulling teams of experts together and coming up with effective strategies. Together with PBOC Governor Dai, Bank of China Governor Wang Xuebing, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Governor Liu Tinghuan, China Construction Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan , China Agricultural Bank governor He Xianglin and PBOC South China chief Wang Qishan, Wen formed a very influential policy team, though it is debatable how well they worked together. Certainly, Zhou Xiaochuan and Wang Qishan were -- and remain -- part of Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction and are more influenced by the central planning policies of their respective mentors than by the reformist views shared by Wen Jiabao and Premier Zhu Rongji.

Nonetheless, by working painstakingly for a consensus, Wen was effective in moving financial reforms ahead and gaining general acquiescence that China’s membership in the World Trade Organization was essential to economic growth. Wen argued that acceding to Western demands for access to China’s financial markets meant that China’s banks had to be competitive before foreign banks were allowed entry, and that meant that financial reforms had to come sooner rather than later.

By December 2000, Vice Premier Wen Jiabao was considered a lead-pipe cinch to replace Zhu Rongji as premier. He had proven his talents to relieve the two biggest headaches in the Chinese economy, agriculture and finance, but he had served three CCP general secretaries loyally and, in the end, even Jiang Zemin was said to have “basically accepted” Wen.

In January 2003, after his elevation to the Politburo Standing Committee assuring his appointment as Premier, Wen Jiabao outlined views on the changes in the international economic systems and his vision for China’s place in them. China must make better headway in dealing with international financial risk and competition, while at the same time protecting financial stability and security at home. He then listed the five priorities for financial policy over the coming year: 1) cut bank bad debt ratios; 2) implement continued financial reforms in a “stable” manner; 3) improve and perfect financial statistics data collection and monitoring, raise the overall standard of financial supervision, and perfect the institutions administering the financial sector; 4) gradually expand the opening of financial markets to foreign banks; and 5) raise the standard of financial services. Rather than present a comprehensive reformist outlook, it was clear that the new premier-designate foresees a movement toward marketization of China’s financial sector with “all deliberate speed.”

Wen Jiabao as Premier

Wen was finally named Premier at the March 2003 NPC, he was elected with the largest vote total of any candidate -- 2, 906 or 99.4% of the ballots were for Wen, three against, and 16 abstentions, comparing favorably to Zhu Rongji who “only” got 97.9% in 1997. But despite having been in the central government for over two decades, including 15 years at the absolute center of power, he did not bring into his cabinet a coterie of like-minded reformists. In fact, the Jiang faction surrounded him with Shanghai Gang figures which promised to rein-in any move by the new Premier -- and the new President Hu Jintao, for that matter -- to exercise real power. A good chunk of the new State Council are Jiang faction appointees, and the secretary general of the State Council, Hua Jianmin, is a long time Jiang loyalist who served as Jiang’s chief confidential secretary in Shanghai and came to Beijing in 1994 to work with Zeng Qinghong. At least two of Wen’s four vice premiers are direct Jiang loyalists, senior vice premier Huang Ju and junior vice premier in charge of agriculture, Hui Liangyu. Zeng Peiyan reportedly has been a Jiang aide since 1992. Meanwhile, Vice Premier Wu Yi is a protégé of outgoing vice premier Li Lanqing -- sympathetic with Wen’s situation, but no one believes she will fall on her sword for the new Premier. Most key State Council ministers are also Jiang partisans.

It is debatable, however, how much Premier Wen’s agenda differs from the Jiang faction’s. “Stability is the Mission that Supercedes All Others”, was the mantra of the more conservative wing of the Party, and by definition “stability” in China means dealing with unemployment in the cities and poverty in the countryside. Premier Wen Jiabao proposes to tackle these issues by buoying state enterprises as long as possible through state financial support, and addressing the heavy fiscal burdens placed on the farmers by rapacious local cadres, hog-tied distribution systems, security-constrained labor mobility, and inadequate returns on farm outputs. He will probably also resist efforts by the United States and other agricultural trading partners to open China’ farm markets to international competition.

One top farm lobbyist in Washington complained in March that "at the end of [WTO] negotiations, China was a $2 billion market. We expected substantial growth, but we haven't seen that growth because China hasn't done what it's supposed to." U.S. exports like cotton, grains and vegetable oils have had particular trouble getting through China's opaque quota system and into China’s domestic markets. On the other hand, China is now a net exporter of cotton, maize corn, honey, apples and has become a major competitor in international markets with U.S. producers. Moreover, China is utilizing a number of pseudo-quarantine measures to exclude other U.S. farm products, particularly soybeans. Given his sympathy for the average Chinese peasant, Premier Wen Jiabao can be expected to continue a policy of stubborn resistance to agricultural imports. But his first order of new business will be to cut taxes on farmers, and his second order of business will be to vastly reduce the size of the rural cadre bureaucracy.

Wen pointed out that despite Premier Zhu’s attempts to cut the governmental bureaucracy by 50%, the vast proportion of those officials stayed on in local offices. Altogether, there were about 45 million bureaucrats in China, with an average of 28 peasants feeding “imperial grain” (i.e. grain intended for the welfare of the empire) to each one of them. Wen explained that “in Chinese history, the average has surely been less than one official per hundred farmers, in the Two Han dynasties, the ratio was one to 945, while in the Tang dynasty, it was one in 500, and even in the early stages of the PRC, the ratio was about one in 600, but that slipped to one in 50 by 1978.” Wen is convinced that the present situation is untenable -- an attitude that may win him great adulation in the countryside -- from everyone but the bureaucrats and officials who run things.

One thing that Premier Wen is highly unlikely to do is acquiesce to Western (especially American and Japanese) pressures to revalue upward China’s renminbi currency. On technology policy and the development of an advanced defense industrial infrastructure, Wen is likely to be supportive of the PLA’s priorities. A scientist himself, Wen is convinced that technological transformation holds the key to unlocking China’s vast production potential. By July 2003, Premier Wen had also seized on the idea that internet commerce was a promising way to encourage better distribution networks in China.

SARS: Showdown with the PLA -- and Jiang

The outbreak of a particularly virulent strain of “atypical pneumonia” (fei dianxing feiyan) in South China, perhaps as early as November 1, 2002, surprised nobody. South China has been the human race’s perennial stewpot for new strains of influenza for decades. What is surprising is that the Chinese government treated it as a state secret shortly after its recrudescence. Public health authorities in Beijing knew that a new killer disease -- soon to be dubbed “sudden acute respiratory syndrome”, or “SARS” by the World Health Organization -- was gripping Southern China as early as January 27 when, according to the Washington Post, the Guangdong provincial health department received a "top secret" document from Beijing which outlined the extent of the contagion. Unfortunately, no one in the Guangdong health department had the security clearances to read the document, so it remained unopened until the Department chief returned from holiday some time later.

There has been some finger-pointing about what Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao knew and when they knew it -- Washington Post reporter John Pomfret says “from the start, Chinese sources said, the new government of President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, who formally took power in March, approved the coverup.” But the sequence of events leading up to Pomfret’s story indicates that both the President and the Premier had already blown the top off the cover-up while Jiang Zemin’s crony, PLA general Zhang Wenkang (China’s feckless and pompous Minister of Public Health) was still spreading lies.

There are other indications that Hu and Wen discovered the PLA to be Jiang’s Achilles heel in the SARS crisis. As early as March, SARS patients began appearing at the PLA’s 301 Hospital in Beijing for treatment, and were then shipped over the 302 Hospital, infecting scores of hospital staff on the way. Minister Zhang Wenkang, a former vice president of the Second Military Medical University (in Shanghai?) still holding the rank of major general, was a typical cadre of the old school -- “submit meaningless reports of political accomplishments, report only happy things, don’t report worrisome things” is the way Zhang is described by Yang Zhongmei.

Yang Zhongmei also reports that the ministry of health had coordinated their SARS research with PLA medical hospitals as early as February, but declined to publicize their findings because of objections from the military. (In April, the WHO reported that about 8% of SARS victims in China were in the PLA, but the figure was certainly higher.) On March 2, the PLA had already begun its in-depth investigation of the SARS etiology, and by March 21 had discovered it emanated from a “coronavirus.” But the results of this research was classified “top secret” (ji mi) and was never shared with the government to help with SARS control. But the military health system did report up its own chain of command -- directly to Jiang Zemin -- according to the Washington Post.

The Chinese leadership was acutely aware that SARS was beginning to spread international alarm. Surely, it had been identified first in South China, and the Guangdong provincial medial authorities were providing what statistics they had (on a low-keyed basis) to the World Health Organization. Moreover, Hong Kong and Taiwan were both suffering from a fearsome spread of the disease, and Singapore was also hard hit. Canadian and European health authorities reported numerous cases and some deaths. SARS was not a mystery in Beijing. But President Hu and Premier Wen probably only began focusing on the issue in late March. Yang Zhongmei reports that there was a directive from the Ministry of Public Health in mid-March directing that operations preventing SARS should not impact the smooth progress of the National People’s Congress, and that SARS information must not be disseminated abroad.

On April 3, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a formal Travel Warning to U.S. citizens advising that all nonessential official personnel and dependents at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the Consulates General in Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenyang, Guangzhou and Hong Kong SAR, were being evacuated “as a precautionary measure due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) situation.”

In an attempt to assuage international (and domestic) criticism over Beijing's official cover up of the epidemic, Minister Zhang Wenkang briefed foreign reporters on April 3 but rather than admit the disease was still on a rampage, he insisted the "epidemic is effectively under control". Moreover, he declared "China is a safe place to work and live, including to travel." It wasn’t safe for Pekka Aro, a Finnish staffer with the UN’s International Labor Organization office in Beijing. He died on April 7. Even Chinese physicians were outraged at Minister Zhang's effort to downplay the seriousness of the ongoing health crisis. Retired senior military surgeon Dr. Jiang Yanyong, who worked one day a week with patients at the 301 hospital, tried to tell China Central Television network about the cover-up but was ignored.

On April 6, Premier Wen and Vice Premier Wu Yi inspected the national center for disease control where Minister Zhang gave them the same happy-faced reports he had been giving foreigners all along. In private, according to the Washington Post, the Chinese CDC workers at that meeting were encouraged that the scales were finally falling from Premier Wen’s eyes. "He talked about the military," said a witness. "He said it was wrong that the military was not reporting cases of SARS. He said we have to start telling the truth to the people. He asked us how many people had SARS in Beijing. We couldn't tell him."

Nonetheless, Premier Wen himself told the foreign press that same day that China had “cooperated closely” with international and foreign health centers to control the outbreak. This was too much for Colonel Jiang Yanyong. He tracked down National Public Radio's correspondent in Beijing, Rob Gifford, and gave tape-recorded interview that "This is a matter of life and death, it is very irresponsible what the Health Minister did." Jiang cautioned "if you deliberately give fake numbers and play down the situation, more might die who shouldn't die and more might be infected who shouldn't be infected."

Still, that same day, April 9, Vice Premier Wu Yi continued to give assurances that SARS was not a problem in Beijing to foreign diplomats and senior international civil servants resident in Beijing. On April 12, the WHO finally lost patience with the PRC government and issued a SARS travel warning for Beijing.

Jiang Zemin Evacuated from Beijing

The WHO travel warning was a wake-up call to President Hu and Premier Wen. They immediately began to reassess the situation. On April 11, President Hu made an emergency visit to Guangdong in an attempt to publicize the gravity of the SARS epidemic -- outside Beijing. And at about the same time, CMC Jiang Zemin decamped to Shanghai. Later in April, Jiang Zemin’s faction tried to explain the evacuation as a prudent step to ensure leadership continuity in “wartime”.

As Beijing’s SARS crisis drags on, knowledgeable sources in Beijjng report that the leadership, in order to avoid a situation where the leadership is affected by thje SARS infection, the Party Center and the State Council has in recent days launched an official mobilization of the “Wartime Leadership Structure” this is the furst time that Zhongnanhai has had such an emergency structure in 50 years.

Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao and Public Health Minister Wu Yi will remain in Beijing as the “A Team Leadership” in work against the disease.

The “B Team”, consists of Zeng Qinghong, NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo, Executive Vice Premier Huang Ju, et al. “The B Team” officials will make all arrangements possible to lessen the change that SARS infections will impact open governmental actions.

The Central Office of the CPC has arranged for leadership families to depart the crowded leadership compund at Zhongnanhai and go to other areas to live, or to go stay with relatives.

News has it that Shanghainese like Jiang Zemin and Huang Ju have evacuated themselves to Shanghai. But this was the first time since the founding of the nation that the wartime leadership structure has been so mobilized.

Whether Hu and Wen -- and the doughty female Vice Premier Wu Yi were flattered to be China’s “A Team” is unknown, but they quickly began to take charge. The entire Jiang Zemin faction had abandoned Beijing leaving them in Charge. While Hu was still in Guangdong, Premier Wen chaired an emergency meeting of the State Council on Sunday, April 13. He warned that the country's economy, international image and social stability could be affected and that "the overall situation remains grave."

For some reason, Beijing’s mayor must not have been clued in on the decision. On April 13, Beijing mayor Meng Xuenong (one of President Hu Jintao’s few allies in Beijing) adamantly insisted that “Beijing City's atypical pneumonia epidemic situation has already been effectively controlled and suspect cases are currently decreasing . . . Six atypical pneumonia patients have to date been discharged from hospital after recovery and a Canadian among them continues his normal work in Beijing.” Also on Sunday, April 13, as if to make a liar out of the hapless mayor, WHO scientists in China complained bitterly that they still were not getting the cooperation they needed from the Chinese authorities, especially from China's military hospitals in the Beijing area.

On April 16, something totally separate from the SARS epidemic shook the PLA high command. Diesel-powered PLA Navy submarine No. 361 suffered an accident while on exercises in the Yellow Sea between the Shandong and Korean peninsulas when a "mechanical malfunction” killed all 70 crew members on board. It is likely that the PLA command did not brief anyone outside the military or the Central Military Commission on the accident at the time, although certainly President Hu Jintao, vice chairman of the CMC, must have been informed.

Whether the submarine disaster was on his mind or not, the President and the Premier may have made up their minds at that time to fire Minister Zhang, but given his support from both CMC Chairman Jiang as well as his putative support in the PLA, they had to plot their strategy carefully. On April 17, Party General Secretary Hu Jintao called the full Politburo together in an extraordinary session in Beijing. According to the Washington Post:

Hu and Wen had spent more than 10 days preparing for the confrontation. Hu ordered China's officials to stop lying about the extent of the SARS epidemic sweeping the country and vowed an all-out war against the disease. The orders appeared on the front page of every Chinese newspaper the next day.

The April 20 Storm

In addition to the April 17 meeting recorded by the Washington Post, Yang Zhongmei describes an “expanded session of the Politburo” on Saturday, April 19, that was full of “acrimony and argumentation” but which finally passed three resolutions:

1) Zhang Wenkang and Meng Xuenong would be removed from their Party positions (only the NPC could remove them from their government offices). And they would be replaced by Vice health minister Gao Qiang and Hainan Party chief Wang Qishan respectively. Because Comrade Liu Qi had been remiss in his work directing the Beijing effort at combating SARS, his case must also be looked into.

2) As the SARS situation had become the gravest of the grave, Premier Wen Jiabao would be given plenipotentiary powers to deal with it.

3) The full extent of the government’s SARS information will be made public and the government will cooperate fully with the WHO in an effort to ease the flow of information.

On April 20, the sackings were announced, and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Hu Jintao, accompanied by PLA Chief of General Staff, General Guo Boxiong, inspected the PLA Institute of Military Medical Sciences’ Institute for the Study of Infectious Microorganisms to express his deep appreciation for their work.

The heat was building on Jiang Zemin, still in Shanghai. On April 24, he greeted visiting Indian defense minister George Fernandes in Shanghai, thus reminding everyone that he wasn’t in Beijing. While meeting with Fernandes, Jiang remarked “The Party Center and the State Council are responsible to the people,” pointedly neglecting any mention of the Army’s responsibilities. Neither NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo nor CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin had appeared in public in weeks. Executive Vice Premier Huang Ju -- Wen Jiabao’s deputy -- was nowhere to be seen. And Beijing’s people noticed. College students (naturally) were the most cynical.

Beijing University’s web site has a “student’s internet news” page and on April 26, Beijing U. students posted a number of articles pointing out with considerable irony that Jiang's Shanghai appearances were evidence that "Shanghai should be safer than Beijing, since our Military Committee Chair Jiang Zemin is in Shanghai." Another student noted that "(Jiang) didn't even set an example, and ran away to seek shelter in Shanghai! (He) fears death! No wonder the Party Central Committee asked the nation to guarantee (the safety of) Shanghai with all one's strength!"

Other internet articles noted with gratification the visits of "brother Bao" (Wen Jiabao) and "sister Wu" (Wu Yi) who dined with students in Bei-Da’s cafeteria on Saturday, April 26.

On April 28, Jiang Zemin signed an order assigning 1200 military medical service personnel to aid Beijing in SARS control, placing for the first time in the SARS crisis the General Logistical Department’s medical services units under the unified leadership of the National SARS Control Command Center. Within seven days, these troops managed to construct a 1000 bed SARS quarantine facility in Xiaotangshan on the outskirts of Beijing.

SARS Aftermath: Jiang Struggles to maintain Prestige

The SARS experience was an unhappy one for the People’s Liberation Army. The Army ranks certainly knew that the PLA had failed the people by withholding vital public health information, and the officers and commanders certainly felt vulnerable without a leadership capable of meshing the requirements of the military with the exigencies of public emergencies. The entire episode must have been adequate proof to the High Command that the PLA cannot function effectively under “Two Centers”. Had Jiang Zemin taken it upon himself to coordinate what the PLA knew and when they knew it with the civilian leadership -- primarily under Premier Wen Jiabao -- the PLA would have wound up being a positive force in Chinese life -- similar to their influence in the disastrous floods of 1998. As it was, CMC Chairman Jiang was apparently asleep at the switch, and became more disengaged when he decamped to Shanghai with his coterie of hangers-on.

On May 2, two weeks after the fact, Xinhua wire service finally reported the April 16 submarine disaster. "The most startling thing about this episode is that they issued a public report," Rand Corp. China specialist Evan Medeiros told the Washington Post. “Maybe Jiang Zemin just judged that in this crisis of faith and accountability it would be better to get out in front of something like this."

Indeed, for the balance of the month of May, Jiang Zemin appeared off-balance, while the national media extolled the capacities of President Hu Jintao as he prepared for his state visits to Central Asia and the G-8 Summit in Evian les Bains, France. Indeed, for about a week prior to his travel to Europe and a week thereafter, Hu Jintao’s photographs graced the front pages, every day, of all China’s major newspapers, including the PLAD. Perhaps Chairman Jiang got tired of seeing Hu’s picture on the front page of his morning PLAD every day and ordered additional coverage of his “Three Represents”. But if coverage in the PLAD is any indication, Hu’s own stock seems to have firmed up among the military.

Zeng Qinghong, a contrasting leadership profile

Over drinks in Beijing in early November 2003, a prominent U.S. journalist gave me his impression of Zeng Qinghong, whom he had seen once or twice playing tennis at the China World Hotel. Zeng is an outgoing, affable man of supreme confidence. “There was a rumor going around that while Hu Jintao was preparing to leave the country for the Central Asia and G-8 tour, a proposal was raised in the Politburo Standing Committee that Vice President Zeng Qinghong should take over the reins of power while President Hu Jintao was out of the country.” The vote was two for and six against with Zeng recusing himself for the obvious reasons. Rumors had it that the only two Standing Committee members supporting Zeng were CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin and executive vice premier Huang Ju – the core of the Jiang Zemin faction.

Whether the story is true or not is less relevant than it is as a parable of Zeng Qingong’s position in the Communist Party hierarchy. Zeng increasingly sees himself as a separate center of power in the Party both as Jiang’s representative and as a principal actor in his own right. He does not see himself as an ideologue or a member of the Party’s orthodox faction. Rather, he considers himself a reformist, a far-thinking visionary, and a generally good old boy.

But others apparently don’t see him in quite the same light. Older cadres in the Party and the Army openly call him a “conspirator” and a power-seeker. Several years ago, for example, some unauthorized biographies of Zeng were floating around Hong Kong and Zeng’s sister, PLA Major General Zeng Haisheng found one for him to read. After reading it Zeng had only one comment: “am I that bad?” and he threw it back at her.

It doesn’t seem that Zeng is as bad as all that. In 1999, an exiled Chinese writer in the United States named Li Jie wrote a futuristic fantasy about Chinese politics entitled “The Last Struggle in Zhongnanhai” (Zhongnanhai Zuihoude Douzheng) in which a figure named “Zheng Qingshan” was the real power behind the throne for a feckless Party General Secretary modeled on Jiang Zemin. Li Jie portrayed the Zheng Qingshan” figure as a democratic reformist struggling against Party ideologues. To make a long story short, a heroic figure is assassinated after forming a Democratic Chinese Federation, leaving Zheng Qingshan takes up the mantle of leadership and undertake the daunting and complex task of turning a democratic Chinese Federation into the reality of a future Chinese democracy.

Li Jie admits he patterned “Zheng” on Zeng Qinghong. Li, a former professor at Huadong Normal University, was a supporter of the Tiananmen Student Movement, spent some time in a lockup and had his career ruined because of it. In disgust with China, Li emigrated to the U.S. in 1998. But Li tells a story that when he was released from jail after serving his Tiananmen time, Zeng Qinghong sent for him via an intermediary. Li Jie showed up for the meeting but sat in sullen silence as Zeng spoke. Zeng pleaded for understanding about the Tiananmen suppression, it had to be done, the government was disintegrating. Li Jie left without responding, but evidently was left with a favorable impression of Zeng. While Li Jie didn’t know Zeng well, he felt well-disposed enough to base a sympathetic and heroic character in his novel on Zeng.

Zeng Qinghong, it seems, strives to be all things to all men. He plays the reformist to the reformers, the nationalist to the military, the technocrat to the scientists, and all the while plays the Machiavelli to Prince Jiang Zemin.

In the tumultuous, unpredictable and capricious world of Chinese politics, Zeng seems miraculously to have avoided being purged, struggled or criticized or being related to anyone who was. He grew up in an environment of privilege (if not wealth) and superlative connections. He is the son of a revered Eighth Route Army general, the aide to an top PLA general, and the older brother to two other mid-ranking PLA generals – who, for some reason, didn’t progress quite as smoothly as elder brother did.

His Father’s Son

Qinghong is the son of the late General Zeng Shan, former minister of commerce who passed away at the age of 72 in April of 1972, just a few months after the purge of Lin Biao. Zeng Shan was a member of the Maoist faction during the Cultural Revolution, and in fact, had been a protégé of Chairman Mao’s since the earliest days of the Jiangxi Soviet. Old General Zeng was born in Ji’an county in isolated Jiangxi province, and “joined the peasant movement in 1925.” He joined the Communist Party in 1926, and was named party secretary for the base area in Jishui county in the winter of 1928. In June of 1929 he was named chairman of the West Jiangxi Soviet Government, within a year was running the entire CCP operation in Jiangxi province under Mao Zedong who was chairman of the CCP Front Party Committee and the Jiangxi-Fujian regional committee.

After the break between Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) Party and the Communists in 1927, intense sweeps of Shanghai by Chiang Kai-shek’s secret police in 1930 and 1931 made the city too hot for the Communist Party Central Committee Office, which disbanded and migrated secretly to the party’s Jiangxi base areas.

As the Central Office arrived, Mao felt his authority eroding and on December 7, 1930, under the pretext of purging “anti-Bolsheviks”, social-democrats and “Li Lisan-ists”, Mao had General Zeng Shan arrest – and liquidate -- as many of the newcomers as possible. The Jiangxi purges, however, netted hundreds of Red Third Army fighters under the command of general Peng Dehuai and held them in a prison in Futian. One of Peng’s subcommanders launched an unsuccessful counterattack against the prison, and in the gun-battles that persisted for days after the “Futian Incident” the anti-Maoists were eliminated. According to one communist not murdered by Mao, “the Fu –T’ien Incident was entirely a plot on the part of Mao Tse-tung to kill off the southwest Kiangsi Leadership and to bring about his own personal counterrevolution.” Zeng Shan was the manager of “Mao’s machine within the Party,” and served as a member of the nine-man Soviet Area Central Bureau chaired by Zhou Enlai.

In November 1943, Peter Vladimirov, the top Tass correspondent in Mao's wartime capital of Yenan, came across some contemporary Chinese documents detailing the Futian Incident, which were later published as "The Vladimirov Diaries, Yenan, China 1942-1945."  The papers, in Chinese, purportedly recorded events of December 7, 1930 which described Zeng Shan's arrest of several of the anti-Bolsheviks:

" . . .  The comrades denied the charges.  They were tortured with burning kerosene wicks.  Then the intererogation was resumed. If the prisoners were stubborn, the torture became diversified.  They had no choice but ot plead guilty.  Their nails were broken and their bodies were covered with burns,  They could neither stir nor speak.  Such was the situtation on fhe first day.  

"On the second day, December 8, the traitor Liu Shao-chi and the others, on the basis of verbal admissions wrenched from the tortured comerades, arrested another ten people from the provincial government, the political guards, the Finance Department, youth organizations, and the Provincial Executive Committee.  They were also tortured with burning kerosene-dipped wicks, and they all 'admitted' their guilt - not to do so would mean death from torture.  Liu, Tseng [Zeng Shan] and Chen supervised the interrogations.  The screams of the prisoners never stopped.  The most monstrous tortures were devised."

At which point, the description of torture becomes a bit too gruesome to repeat here. [Vladimirov Diaries, Doubleday & Company, New York, 1975, pp. 167-174].

Zeng was Party Chairman for Jiangxi and ran the Front Party’s internal affairs ministry until Chiang’s Fifth Encirclement Campaign finally forced the bulk of the Communist Party’s structure onto the Long March. Zhou Enlai, however, ordered Zeng Shan, Marshal Chen Yi and Qu Qiubai to remain in the base areas and organize a guerrilla movement. At some point, Zeng Shan’s father, Zeng Caiqin, was arrested and ultimately died in a KMT prison, and two of Zeng’s brothers, and their wives were killed by KMT forces. And at some point after the Long March, Mao dispatched Zeng Shan off to the Soviet Union where he studied at Moscow’s Lenin Institute.

It is possible that Zeng’s reputation as Mao’s hatchet-man had generated bitterness in the Party and Mao wanted to remove Zeng from the scene until the heat was off. In any event, Zeng returned to China in 1937 and was promptly sent back to the newly reconstituted East China Bureau in Southern Anhui where he was the director of the Bureau’s Organization Department.

General Zeng probably met his bride-to-be before the Long March. Zeng’s Fujianese comrade Deng Liujin was a mere child of twenty when she joined the Communist Party in 1931, and by 1934 Zeng had appointed her director of the Fujian Party Committee Women’s Affairs office. The General, half Hakkannese, may have been attracted to Ms. Deng by her full-blooded Hakka heritage. She was attached to the Red First Front Army when the Army pulled out of Jiangxi to join the Long March in 1935. Several accounts have her as one of only twenty-seven women to have survived the March, but by 1938 she was back in East China where she married Zeng Shan, and her first born son Qinghong appeared unexpectedly at her cervix on August 29, 1939, as she marched through the countryside in the South Anhui Base Area.

Ms. Deng had no time to get back to her base, and instead sought out a peasant home in “Ding Family Mount” (Dingjiashan) – where she gave birth to “Li’l Ding”, her pet name for the baby Zeng Qinghong.

After a month, when she had recovered sufficiently from the birth at the peasant home, Comrade Deng carried her babe back the South Anhui Base Area and presented him to a very happy General Zeng. Before long, Japanese pressure on the Base Area made it an unsuitable place for an infant, and in April 1940, Ms. Deng took the child to General Zeng’s home village in Ji’an, Jiangxi, where he lived with Zeng’s mother, sisters and Zeng’s first wife who had borne Zeng two other children.

In the spring of 1941, Deng Liujin bore the general another son, Qinghuai, who was also sent back to the village. One story says that Chiang Kai-shek’s soldiers surrounded the village, and brutally interrogated Zeng’s grandmother. Infant Qinghong escaped with some relatives and literally spent two nights in a nearby tree to avoid capture. At least four or five of Zeng’s relatives had been killed by Kuomintang troops during the first Chinese Civil War – including Zeng’s grandfather.  Deng must have missed the toddlers terribly, because in a short time she pleaded with the Base Area leadership – of which her husband was organization chief -- to let her open a nursery for cadre children in South Anhui, and the two children returned to live with their parents.

Zeng Qinghong may already have started networking in nursery school. One account reveals that Qinghong’s younger brother Qinghuai shared a wet nurse with Chen Haosu, the infant son of the Chairman of the East China Bureau, General Chen Yi. In any event, several biographers of Zeng assert that Zeng’s mother cared for virtually all the younger children of the East China Bureau leadership in the years before the People’s Republic. Meanwhile, Zeng Shan had become a financier of sorts, having received orders from the Party Center to set up the Central China Bank which subsequently began to opened a branch in Shanghai. Among the young cadres he recruited for the Party’s financial and banking work in East China were Fang Yi, Li Renju, Chen Guodong, Wang Daohan, Sun Yanfang and Xu Xuehan. The Elder Zeng, himself, even served as a vice mayor of Shanghai until 1949. In his financial career, Zeng pere was said to have had “excellent ties with Chen Yun,” Deng Xiaoping’s major rival in the elder hierarchy during the 1980s and 1990s.

Zeng’s Early Career

When the communist bureaucracy moved to Beijing, Zeng Shan went with it to serve in a variety of upper level party and state council jobs, eventually topping out as commerce minister. His son Qinghong continued to be with the scions of Chinese Communism’s leading families at Beijing’s 101 Middle School, graduating in 1958. He evidently wasn’t a very serious student because even with his father’s prestige his grades weren’t good enough to gain entry to Beijing or Tsinghua university. Instead, he entered the Beijing Industrial Institute and matriculated in the automated controls department and entered the Communist Party in his second year. His biographer Zong Hairen notes that “at the time he was not seen much among his fellow students.”

Upon graduating, probably in 1962, Zeng joined the People’s Liberation Army and was assigned to the PLA’s 743 Unit where he served for two years probably as a missile technician. Zeng is the oldest of five children, four of whom are still in the PLA. After Qinghong is Qinghuai, originally a driver for the Cultural Ministry, and is now a bureau chief in charge of major national artistic performances and competiton. Next is Zeng Qingyang, initially a corps level cadre in the Academy of Military Sciences, and now a major general. Third is Zeng Qingyuan, once a lieutenant colonel at the Air Force Command School (Kongjun Zhihui Xueyuan), and now a major general serving as deputy director of the Air Force logistics department. Then comes younger sister Zeng Haisheng, recently promoted from director of the PLA personnel files office (Jiefangjun Dangan Guan Guanzhang) to be cadre director in the General Staff Department of the PLA, and is also a major general.

In 1965 Zeng Qinghong apparently left the PLA to join the Seventh Ministry of Machine Building (also known as the Ministry of Aeronautical Industry) that had responsibility for the PLA’s rockets and missiles, where he continued to work with rockets in Laboratory Six of the Second Department in the ministry’s Second Institute.

Zeng was at the Seventh Ministry in August 1966 at the start of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and soon found himself in the throes of political violence. By September, the Seventh Ministry was split between the “915 Faction” from the ministry’s administrative offices and the “619 Faction” dominated by engineers. By January 1968, a young missile engineer forcibly overthrew Minister Wang Bingzhang and the other senior cadres, and paralyzed the ministry for nearly two years. In June 1968, a mob murdered one of China’s foremost missile designers, Yao Tongbin, obliging then-Premier Zhou Enlai to intervene to protect China’s top minds in rocketry.

It would be interesting to know which faction Zeng joined, but whatever one it was, he paid for his sins in 1969 when he was sent off to Chikan Naval Base near Zhanjiang in Guangdong province, and thence to a production base in Hunan’s, Xihu county to do a year’s manual labor.

A year was enough. In 1970 Zeng returned to the Second Institute in the Seventh Ministry and resumed his work. He was in the Institute when his father, a long-time Mao loyalist, died in April 1972 unscathed by the GPCR. At his death, Zeng Shan was “one of the few old cadres not to have been purged by Mao in the Cultural Revolution.” Zeng Qinghong left the Seventh Ministry in 1973 for another technical assignment in the military’s Commission on Science and Technology for the National Defense (COSTIND) office in Beijing. He apparently remained at COSTIND for six years until 1979.

When one of old General Zeng’s comrades in arms from the Jiangxi Soviet days, General Yu Qiuli, was appointed vice premier and chairman of the State Planning Commission in 1979, Zeng Qinghong’s mother interceded. She asked the vice premier to hire her son away from the COSTIND Beijing office to be his aide in the State Planning Commission. By September 1980, the transfer was finalized and Zeng Qinghong, aged 41, became Vice Premier Yu’s personal secretary with the title of deputy office director in the State Energy Commission and later as Chief of Liaison in the Ministry of Petroleum’s Foreign Affairs Office. Dr. Cheng Li, an astute chronicler of China’s leadership dynamics, notes that Vice Premier Yu was one of the many in China’s leadership who were proponents of having the “children of old leaders” move into top-tier positions (tixie lao shouzhangde haizi), and Yu’s sentiments probably predisposed him to take on Qinghong as his protégé.

In July 1982, Deng Xiaoping, as chair of the Central Military Commission, ordered Vice Premier Yu back into uniform to take over the PLA’s Political Department, a top military slot that also included seats on the CMC and the Politburo’s Secretariat. Zeng Qinghong once again put on a uniform and followed General Yu over to the PLA General Command. Zeng soon figured out that his prospects for improvement were somewhat greater if he could return to the Petroleum Ministry than at PLA headquarters. After assisting General Yu to settle in, Zeng asked to go back to the Ministry, Yu was amenable and that was that. Back at the Ministry, under Yu’s continuing patronage, Zeng was promoted to Deputy Foreign Affairs chief, then to party secretary of the South Yellow Sea Oil Corporation at a fairly senior cadre grade of Bureau Director (Juji).

In the Shanghai Party Committee

Zeng Qinghong’s Bureau Director rank now made him eligible for a serious provincial-level leadership job. In late 1984, and after importuning his late father’s protégés at the old Central China Bank, Chen Guodong and Wang Daohan, respectively Party Chief and Mayor of Shanghai, Qinghong was appointed deputy organization chief in the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee. Inside six months, he was promoted again to organization chief, just in time to welcome Jiang Zemin who was appointed mayor of Shanghai that June.

Interestingly, once Zeng gained a real leadership position – and a seat on the Shanghai Party’s standing committee – he didn’t just focus on feathering his own nest, but became intent on making a reputation for himself as a reformer. Deng Xiaoping’s motto for his new agenda to reform the Party was “more revolutionary, younger, more educated and more professional” (geminghua, nianqinghua, zhishihua, zhuanyehua). Zeng made it his motto, and ordered sweeping new party recruitment and personnel requirements on age and education levels. He launched China’s first journal for the Party organization sector, Organizational and Personnel Information News (Renshi Zuzhi Xinxi Bao). He ordered the young general editor of the paper to maintain in daily contact with the Party Center’s Organization Department and prepare information reports on the latest directives from an increasingly reformist party and governmental leadership. Soon, Zeng had made a reputation for himself as Shanghai’s most dynamic reformer.

Zeng also had a softer side – for old Maoists. When Qi Benyu was released from 18 years in Beijing‘s Qincheng prison in 1985 and was sent back to Shanghai to live out his days, Zeng interceded to make his life easier. Qi was a radical protégé of Mme. Jiang Qing and a Cultural Revolution Group polemicist who penned vituperative attacks on Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai, he had been arrested in late 1968 and thrown in jail. In 1983, he was finally convicted in a Beijing court of “counterrevolutionary propaganda incitement to violence” and sentenced to time served plus two years. When the middle-aged Qi finally wandered into Shanghai with nothing but a Beijing cadre stipend, Zeng Qinghong took up his cause, declared that the cost of living in Beijing was considerably lower than Shanghai, and poor Mr. Qi, now at the ripe age of 54, was entitled to a cost of living increase. For some reason, Zeng’s pseudonymous biographer Zong Hairen seems to believe that Zeng’s advocacy on the part of a true Gang of Four criminal from the Cultural Revolution is evidence of a humanitarian streak, because the incident warrants nearly a full page in Di Si Dai and prominent mention in the Nathan-Gilley book. It could just as easily demonstrate Zeng’s continued affinity for Maoist loyalties. But that may be another story.

In any event, Zeng got along famously in Shanghai with his boss, Party Chief Rui Xingwen, and after a year Rui promoted Zeng to be a deputy Party Secretary for the Shanghai Party Committee (with oversight of organization and propaganda work), joining the more senior deputy party secretaries Wu Bangguo and Huang Ju, both native Shanghainese. Both Rui and Zeng were outsiders, neither could speak the city’s distinctive dialect, and the two men tended to look out for each other. At the time, Zeng did not come into close contact with his future patron Jiang Zemin because Zeng worked the Party structure and Jiang was mayor of the city’s governmental organs.

Finally, in the summer of 1987, as the city prepared its delegation to the Reform-or-Retrenchment 13th Party Congress in Beijing, Jiang and Zeng began to consult closely on who would be in the delegation, and how to prepare Jiang to take over the Shanghai Party Secretary slot – and a seat on the Central Politburo. In the interregnum between 1987’s 13th Congress and 1989’s Tiananmen Incident, Zeng oversaw Shanghai’s newspapers and media – and for a while was particularly fond of Shanghai’s edgy, outspoken and market-oriented World Economic Journal which he saw as a useful tool to ingratiate the city with the Reformist Faction in Beijing headed by Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang.

But by the end of April 1989, after the death of the sainted (but ousted) former Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang sparked massive demonstrations in support of drastic political reforms, the Party Center split. Zeng Qinghong was in Beijing sounding out his contacts in the military, the party and the media, and came to the conclusion that the demonstrations would soon be labeled as “counterrevolutionary turmoil.” He sent word back to Shanghai that his favorite newspaper, the World Economic Herald had to be watched. On April 20, Zeng and Shanghai city’s propaganda chief, Mme. Chen Zhili met with the Herald’s editor-in-chief, Qin Benli, demanding that the municipal party have the right to clear articles calling for a reassessment of the “mistaken” purge of the late Hu Yaobang. Although Qin agreed to delete offending portions, the April 22 issue of the Herald included the offending paragraphs. Sure enough, on April 24, Jiang Zemin announced to a plenary meeting of several thousand Shanghai Party cadres that the Herald was closed for investigation, and Qin Benli had been removed from his position. The Herald’s transgression was to publish a lengthy and laudatory report on a symposium entitled “Comrade Hu Yaobang Still Lives in our Hearts” attended by forty of Shanghai’s most noted scholars.

Shanghai Mayor and Party Secretary Jiang Zemin, working on Zeng’s reports from Beijing, took immediate steps to defuse growing demonstrations in the city, and ordered that all city officials “support order”. The move drew Deng Xiaoping’s attention, and convinced Deng that Jiang was a capable administrator. On May 21, when the Deng family convened a meeting in Beijing of the so-called “Eight Immortals”, Chen Yun and Li Xiannian both recommended that Jiang replace Zhao Ziyang as general secretary, a nomination that Deng finally accepted on May 27, a week before the June 4th massacre at Tiananmen. Zeng Qinghong’s part in Jiang’s rise was the deciding factor.

Jiang Moves to Beijing

When Jiang finally moved his offices to Beijing, the stories go, he only brought one Shanghai aide with him, one of the Shanghai Communist Party Committee’s deputy secretaries Zeng Qinghong. To be perfectly honest, Jiang hadn’t a clue about how politics worked in Beijing, while Zeng had his father’s friends, his high-school buddies and fellow cadre-kid connections to serve as his eyes and ears in the capital. Jiang was reluctant to take his position as the communist party’s new general secretary too seriously lest he run up against a phalanx of resistance. So Zeng Qinghong, a lofty man in the Shanghai party structure, was taken over to the Central Office of the CCP and introduced to his new boss, Central Office Director Wen Jiabao. Wen himself was in a precarious position and was seen as part of the disgraced pre-Tiananmen Zhao Ziyang clique. Still, Wen Jiabao was amenable to according his new deputy senior protocolary rank (over another sitting deputy office director) while keeping Zeng’s duties light enough to give him time to work with Jiang Zemin.

Zeng was also given responsibility for Central Office personnel issues, and it seems that he was quite happy with this key portfolio. Given that Zeng’s father was adept at party organization work, it is not too much of a stretch to imagine that Zeng inherited a knack for it. Did he talk with his father about his work? Did his mother’s skill at networking influence him? Did his father’s friends give him advice? Probably all of the above. Zeng’s biographer Zong Hairen says

Qinghong, who didn’t go for reading books, found himself forming a deep interest in the intrigues of the Ming and Qing courts, and read vast volumes of Ming and Qing files, focusing on the lessons of how to protect oneself, attack the enemy, how to gain the upper hand in complex situations, resolve contradictions, how to consolidate one’s power, and how to advance oneself a step higher when one’s base is consolidated.

There was a problem with Jiang Zemin, however. His first three springs in Beijing were rather passive as Premier Li Peng took the lead in economic policy, making “rectification and control” (zhili zhengdun) the guiding catch-phrase, eclipsing Deng Xiaoping’s “Reform and Opening” (gaige kaifang). Nonetheless, Deng Xiaoping continued his habit of wintering in Shanghai and in the winter/springs of 1989-90 and 1990-91, and Zeng took over all advance work for Deng’s Shanghai vacations. From his office in Beijing, Zeng arranged for Deng’s visit to the flat rice paddies of Shanghai’s Pudong development zone on January 21, 1991 where he got a briefing from Shanghai’s mayor Zhu Rongji on plans to develop the real estate into a financial and commercial base. Maintaining some influence on Shanghai’s media, Zeng arranged for the city’s Liberation Daily to publish a series of lengthy articles entitled “Reform and Opening need a new way of thinking”. In attempt to keep up the momentum of his reforms, Deng made a series of tours in the summer and fall of 1991 to Hubei and Jiangxi where he was quoted several times as vowing that “anyone who doesn’t reform will lose his job” (shei bu gaige, shei jiu xiatai).

The following year, when Deng Xiaoping made his now-famous “Southern Progress” (or Nanxun, literally “southern hurricane”) of Guangdong’s special economic zones, Zeng saw to it that Deng’s visit concluded in Shanghai. Zeng, at least, seemed to sense whither the wind was blowing even if Jiang was a bit timid to get involved. During the Nanxun, the key meeting was a gathering of top People’s Liberation Army leaders in the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone, with Deng as the chair, and Central Military Commission vice chairman (and State President) Yang Shangkun, Politburo Politics and Law Czar (and Jiang rival) Qiao Shi, and the PLA’s senior military commander, Liu Huaqing. Missing from this meeting was Central Military Commission chairman Jiang Zemin himself! (Here, I use an exclamation mark on purpose – it reflects my reaction when I first saw the photograph of these fellows on the front page of the Nanfang Ribao on (tk), under the headline “Liberation Army pledges to be the Praetorian Escort (Baojia Huhang) for Reform and Opening.”

The spring and summer of 1992 proved to be the turning point for Jiang Zemin whom Deng Xiaping considered weak on reform and more afraid of “peaceful evolution” than of China’s faltering economy. Zeng could see trouble brewing a mile away, and hastily arranged a series of meetings between Jiang and Premier Li Peng to convince them that Deng’s handwriting on the wall would spell the downfall of both if they didn’t mend their ways. Over a span of several months, Jiang and Li issued over twenty articles from both the Party center and the State Council urging the entire bureaucracies of both to study Deng’s speeches in the South and boldly implement “Reform and Opening.” It was a 180 degree turn for both men which gave them some breathing space to prepare for the 14th Party Congress scheduled for October.

With Jiang and Li now toeing the Reformist line, Zeng now began working on “turning the spear point at Deng’s own supporters.” A quick survey of the situation led Zeng to conclude that the only way Jiang could survive the 14th Congress preparations would be to engineer the removal of Deng’s closest comrade-in-arms, President Yang Shangkun. But how?

The Fourteenth Party Congress

President Yang Shangkun’s influence in the party came from his service as Deng’s top aide in the Communist Party leadership in the 1950s and 60s. His influence in the army came from his close ties to the families of revered People’s Liberation Army generals Liao Hansheng, Xiao Ke and He Long all of whom had suffered or been killed in the Cultural Revolution. With Deng’s rehabilitation in 1977 and the consolidation of his power from 1979 through 1982, Yang maneuvered to get the scions of the old generals’ families into top PLA posts. And for a decade thereafter, Yang Shangkun and his younger half-brother Yang Baibing began to use their influence to affect general officer promotions.

Then came the break Zeng Qinghong needed. In the summer of 1992, Yang Baibing (then secretary general of the Central Military Commission) prepared a list of one hundred general officer promotions that had to be rubber-stamped by CMC Chairman Jiang. The promotees were generally supporters of the Yang brothers, and their movement into ever higher PLA command positions would consolidate the Yangs’ grip on the military.

Normally, Jiang would have felt obliged to pass on them, but Zeng prevailed on him to hold up for a few days and seek counsel of a top general who was not a fan of the Yang faction, General Yu Yongbu, vice director of the PLA’s General Political Department. General Yu was director of the Nanjing Military Region political department when Jiang and Zeng were in the Shanghai party leadership and Yu was considered Jiang’s sole ally in the CMC.

When General Yu saw the hundred-name promotion list, he was dumbstruck. CMC Secretary General Yang Baibing had drawn up the list, and had the temerity to submit it to General Liu Huaqing (then the top ranking military officer) and then to CMC Chairman Jiang Zemin without running the names through the PLA’s political department for vetting. Yu told Jiang and Zeng that it was clear that the names were all “pro-Yang” and the action was designed to “completely supplant Deng Xiaoping’s men in the central military organs with Yang family horse-holders.”

Zeng Qinghong took this information to two of his “princeling” comrades (Yu Zhengsheng and Liu Jing) who had solid ties with Deng’s son, Pufang. These two friends arranged fro Zeng Qinghong to meet face-to-face with Deng Pufang in the midst of a whispering campaign in Beijing suggesting that “Yang Shangkun seeks to replace Deng Xiaoping”, “Yang wants to be CMC Chairman”, and “Yang Baibing will launch a bloddless coup”. Whether Zeng Qinghong was behind this rumor mongering is conjectural, but the message Zeng passed to Deng Pufang was that “Jiang wasn’t disloyal to Deng, Jiang had been muzzled by Yang Shangkun”. Zeng insisted that “Jiang Zemin was wholly loyal to the Old Man” (Jiang Zemin shi chedi zhongyu Lao Yezide).

Zeng then explained the problem of the hundred-man promotion list, and warned that the Yang family’s power was growing. Zeng also suggested that Yang was considering the rehabilitation of disgraced General Secretary Zhao Ziyang. This, he said, would be a disaster and would be an admission that Deng Xiaoping had been wrong about the June Fourth decision. Pufang then arranged a meeting for Jiang Zeming and General Yu Yongbo to brief his father directly about their concerns. When they arrived, General Liu Huaqing was sitting at Deng’s side, and the two men said they were ready to hear the Chairman Jiang’s concerns. In the end, General Liu confirmed the substance of the complaints, that CMC Chairman Jiang had been frozen out of virtually all CMC decision-making and that the Yang Brothers had been acting suspiciously.

Finally, Yang Shangkun asked Jiang what had happened to the promotion list, and was startled to hear Jiang was “holding it up subject to Deng Xiaoping’s guidance”.

Several communist party elders Former Chinese president Li Xiannian (whom Yang Shangkun had replaced when Li became too old – despite the fact that Li was only a year older than Yang) was, according to Zong Hairen’s book, seized with a touch of schadenfreude. Other elders, including Chen Yun and Peng Zhen were equally delighted at the Yang Brothers’ predicament and advised Deng that the Yang Family’s scheming “was unhelpful to [army] unity”. Deng’s old Third Field Army comrade and former defense minister Zhang Aiping both urged Deng to put his foot down and approached Jiang Zemin to offer his wholehearted support.

Deng still was disinclined to forsake his loyal friend Shangkun, but a steady drumbeat of criticism and a heavy lobbying campaign from the elders obliged him to set up a “leading small group to prepare for the 14th Party Congress” that would include Jiang, Li Peng, Song Ping (a mentor to both Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao) and Party elder Bo Yibo.

When the smoke had cleared, the Yang brothers had been removed from all PLA positions, and the only officer on the “hundred-names” list to be promoted was general Xiong Quangkai. Zong Hairen’s book says to call the dismantlement of the “Yang Family Army” a victory for Jiang Zemin or Li Peng is to misunderstand what happened. Zeng Qinghong orchestrated the effort on Jiang’s behalf, and “without Zeng to put together this enterprise, it would never have happened, and as a result the Jiang-Zeng relationship cannot be supplanted by any other.”

The Chen Xitong Affair

Jiang Zeming was acutely aware that getting through the 14th Party Congress unscathed and visiting confusion upon his enemies was Zeng’s doing (although Jiang’s victory in getting himself named as the successor “generational ‘core’” to Mao and Deng was probably Hu Jintao’s doing). But Jiang still had a number of formidable rivals and foes in the leadership all vying for Deng’s blessing and all trying to maintain the loyalties of their own factions.

In the wake of the 14th Congress, one such figure was Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong who had long used his position to ingratiate himself both to Deng and to Deng’s elder comrade and chief rival in the ideological debate, Chen Yun. Chen Zitong had become such a force in the capital, Zong Hairen says, “that Jiang Zemin’s writ didn’t run in Beijing City.”

With the Nanxun of early 1992, as Chen Xitong quickly got on Deng’s good side by arranging for the old man to tour Beijing’s Capital Steel Factory in late spring where Deng gave a speech praising vice premier Zhu Rongji for “really understanding economics” and supporting Capital Steel chief Zhou Quanjun’s reformist innovations at the plant. It was only after Deng had gone, that Mayor Chen notified the Politburo (of which he was a member) of Deng’s speech and issued press releases under the Beijing Party Committee’s name. Two years later, in 1994, Chen Xitong was quoted as questioning Jiang’s authority well after Jiang had been named “Core of the Third Generation” at 1992’s 14th Party Congress. “The core is not bestowed,” Chen reportedly told Beijing cadres, “it is something you have to live up to, you have to rely on everyone to support you.”

For Jiang Zemin, this was the last straw. Chen had to go, and once again Zeng was put on the case. He set aside his General Office duties and began to study the problem – which turned out to be easier than the Yang Family affair. Chen Xitong, it turned out, was notoriously corrupt. Zeng began to collect reports on Chen’s behavior, as well as stories that Chen’s top aides, vice mayors Zhang Baifa and Wang Baosen regularly took bribes. After a while, Zeng began dispatching agents to report on every speech Chen Xitong gave, every meeting he had, every inspection tour he made.

At last, Zeng discovered a massive corruption case in the East China metropolis of Wuxi whose threads led back to Beijing. Despite “seven degrees of separation” a web of corruption was traced to the Beijing mayor’s doorstep. Big-ticket Real estate deals, billion-yuan insider trading, and a host of other unsavory practices enmeshed Capital Steel’s chief Zhou Beifang – with the money coming from one of the world’s wealthiest men, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing. Li Ka-shing seems to have been well connected with Jiang Zeming’s rivals in Beijing – but had little use for Jiang, probably because Jiang had little influence over municipal affairs in the capital.

That was all well and good from Zeng Qinghong’s point of view. As Zeng was mulling his catch, another fish swam into his net. Deng Zhifang, Deng Xiaoping’s younger son, was involved in several shady business deals with Capital Steel and Li Ka-shing’s real estate empire including a land development operation in Hong Kong called “Capital Steel Four Corners”.

This all began to mesh nicely with a growing scandal surrounding Li Ka-shing’s shakedown of McDonald’s Restaurants which happened to occupy a prime bit of real estate on Wangfujing Street in bustling downtown Beijing. Li’s land developers lusted after the land for a mega-mall shopping site to be called “Oriental Plaza” and by liberally greasing several very influential palms – including some in the Deng Xiaoping family and no doubt Chen Xitong’s as well – Li Ka-shing’s land developers persuaded the Beijing municipal government to renege on a 20-year land lease that McDonald’s had on the Wangfujing parcel. McDonald’s, accustomed to dealing with crooks worldwide, knew how to protect itself. They went to the press, and behind the scenes to the Chinese communist party’s corruption watchdogs and blew the whistle. By the end of 1994, the McDonald’s affair had become a major embarrassment for the Chinese government, with senior trade officials pleading that McDonald’s would be well compensated.

But the dice were cast – snake-eyes for Chen Xitong. The Central Discipline Inspection Commission’s investigation into McDonald’s scandal and Chen Xitong’s Capital Steel connections sealed his fate. Chen was detained on April 26, 1995, and the next day senior Poliburo member Hu Jintao announced the purge to a gathering of Beijing municipal officials. As Jiang’s biographer described the scene, on one side of Hu sat discipline czar Wei Jianxing, and on the other sat Zeng Qinghong: “If there was any doubt that Jiang was behind the move, it was dispelled by the prominent and unexplained appearance of Zeng, who was called a ‘responsible person from the relevant central department.”

No doubt the Deng family was also somewhat shaken. And Zeng persoanally reassured them that China’s new leader would take measures to keep their black sheep out of trouble. Zeng even saw to it that the Deng family’s retainer, General Wang Ruilin, was put on the Central Military Commission, and Jiang’s ally from Fujian, Jia Qinglin, was transferred to Beijing to replace Chen Xitong as mayor. The Purge of Chen Xitong demonstrated that Jiang was ready and willing to play hardball in the cutthroat jungle of Beijing politics, and Zeng Qinghong was Jiang’s strategist.

National Security and Foreign Affairs

There is no question that economics, agriculture and finance were the thorniest problems facing China in the 1990s, and they were issues in which Zeng Qinghong had no expertise. Moreover, should the country suffer an economic downturn, no doubt Zeng Qinghong wanted Jiang Zemin to have a plausible deniability of responsibility. Instead, fault for a sputtering economy could be laid at Zhu Rongji’s and Wen Jiabao’s feet, and they could be sacrificed.

On the other hand, Jiang consolidated his power base in the military. The episode with the “hundred names” promotion list certainly taught Zeng Qinghong that there was considerable potential to leverage general officer promotions into influence with the People’s Liberation Army. Military budgets, equipment technology, procurement strategies, personnel downsizing and reorganization of military units into efficient fighting machines were all issues that had to be addressed by the Central Military Commission of which Jiang was Chairman. And these were issues that could be addressed fairly easily by throwing money at them. Of course, these issues would be much more easily addressed if the PLA were to have a specific mission to focus on.

By December 1990, defense against the Soviet hegemon had disappeared as a mission. And Zeng Qinghong no doubt set about coming up with a mission that could crystallize Jiang’s authority in the PLA. By the end of 1991, Taiwan appeared to be that mission. Jiang authorized the purchase of 48 Soviet-built SU-27 jet fighters, and signed options for 24 more. The sale sparked an American election year decision to sell 150 F-16 fighters to Taiwan, and a French commercial decision to sell 60 Mirage 2000-5 fighters to Taiwan as well. This demonstration that the Western democracies were still committed to supporting Taiwan in the aftermath of the Tiananmen crisis inclined Beijing to follow a two-pronged strategy of wooing Taiwan with kindliness and accelerating the purchase of advanced Soviet weaponry. In November 1992, China acknowledged to the so-called “One China, different interpretations” formula (except that Taiwan didn’t immediately respond with an interpretation), and in April 1993 Taiwanese representatives met with Chinese counterparts in Singapore to start the so-called “Koo-Wang Talks”.

Because national security and Taiwan, are central to military policy, Jiang and Zeng gravitated toward a strategy of seizing the high-ground in those areas. Early on, Jiang sought to place his loyalists in key foreign affairs slots, and Zeng apparently took on the job as Jiang’s alter-ego in Taiwan affairs, Hong Kong and national security strategies.

Zeng may have coveted control of Taiwan Affairs because up to 1992, Taiwan had been the province of Jiang’s nemesis, President Yang Shangkun. Indeed, Taiwan’s President Lee Teng-hui considered his contacts with Beijing via “secret envoys” Su Chih-ch’eng and Cheng Shu-min to have been a direct link to Yang Shangkun via Yang’s envoy Yang Side. The contacts between Lee Teng-hui and Yang Shangkun were intermediated by a Hong Kong-based “Qigong Master” cum Zen philosopher named Nan Huaijin who had a considerable following among both neo-Confucian elites in both Taiwan and the PRC. In early 1988, Master Nan claimed very -- very -- high level interest in the Chinese communist hierarchy in establishing a direct channel of communications to Taiwan’s new president, and over the following six years hosted nine separate meetings between emissaries from the presidents of Taiwan and China. This channel facilitated the opening of public contacts between Taipei and Beijing via unofficial instrumentalities deputized to discuss practical ways to deal with notarial, immigration and criminal hang-ups and other administrative issues. But those talks were not authorized to discuss political differences. Politics, however, were the subject of the secret meetings.

As Taiwan had become sole focus of the People’s Liberation Army’s mission after the fall of the Soviet Union, Zeng and Jiang Zemin may have presumed that President Yang Shangkun somehow gained leverage in the PLA through his influence on Taiwan policy. By the end of 1992, although Yang Shangkun had lost his authority in the military, and Master Nan had lost the honor of hosting the secret cross-Strait liaisons (much to Master Nan’s chagrin), Yang still managed to maintain his presence in Taiwan affairs by continuing the contacts with Lee Teng-hui via another aide, Xu Mingzhen. Throughout these early talks, Taiwan’s President doggedly pursued the idea of signing a cross-Strait nonaggression pact as the first step to opening direct transportation links between Taiwan and China. After Jiang Zemin succeeded Yang Shangkun as China’s president in 1993, Jiang’s representative, former Shanghai mayor Wang Daohan, continued as the main interlocutor with Lee Teng-hui’s secret envoy, but Xu Mingzhen still reported to Yang and other Jiang rivals.

In January 1994, Wang Daohan informed his Taiwan counterpart that “Jiang Zemin had named a new representative and hoped that Su Chih-ch’eng would meet with him.” But Wang declined to say just who this “new representative” was. President Lee was obliged to send his junior envoy, Ms. Cheng, to Beijing to learn the identity of the new man, and “after being lead down dark alley after dark alley, she finally came upon a room in which she met the new counterpart, the director of the Central Office of the Chinese Communist Party, Zeng Qinghong.” Zeng informed her that “henceforth, the two sides need not use any other channel for direct liaison.”

Taiwan’s President Lee Teng-hui was now confident that he had a direct line to China’s President Jiang Zemin and eagerly agreed to the new contact. Zeng’s first meeting with Su Chih-ch’eng came on the not-very-auspicious date of April 4, 1994, after much haggling about the venue, at a discreet villa in the sleepy Zhuhai Special Economic Zone abutting the equally sleepy Portuguese enclave of Macau. Su presented Zeng with a rustic ceramic with a crystalline glaze crafted by one of Taiwan’s foremost artists. In return, Zeng presented Su with a gigantic flower vase that, in the end, had to be FedEx-ed to Taiwan a week later. Lee’s biography doesn’t say what else happened at that first meeting, but confirms that Lee agreed that his emissary could “have deeper discussions” at their next meeting, which took place on November 25, 1994, again in Zhuhai.

Again, Su Chih-ch’eng proposed a peace agreement, but Zeng demurred that a peace pact “is state-to-state behavior.” Su then explored the idea of a three-way joint-venture cross-Strait airline service with Taiwan and China each holding 45% of the shares and Singapore holding a 10% share to avoid any political implications. Again, Zeng demurred.

Then Zeng broached the idea of arranging for a “spontaneous meeting” (buqi er dai) between Lee Teng-hui and Jiang Zemin at some “third place” -- which, however, could not be an international forum (guoji changhe). Both men agreed that this should be further explored, and would help stabilize the situation in the Taiwan Strait.

On the eve of the announcement of President Jiang’s “Eight Points” (Jiang Ba Dian) on Taiwan policy just before Lunar New Year in January 1995, word got back to Taipei that it would mark a turn in relations and hoped that Taiwan would respond with goodwill. The word, unfortunately, didn’t get to Lee’s aides in time, and the next day Taipei dismissed Jiang’s “Eight Points” as “nothing new.” By the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations, President Lee issued his own observation that “the Eight Points are worth our careful attention.” Within a week, Lee had prepared his “Lee’s Six Conditions” (Li Liu Tiao) as a concrete response to the “Eight Points” in hopes of reminding the PRC side “to be a bit more attentive to Taiwan’s sensitivities”.

In March 1995, Su Chih-ch’eng again met Zeng Qinghong face-to-face in Zhuhai where he gave Zeng a head’s-up that President Lee was planning visits to the Middle East and the United States, and hoped that the other side could countenance the trips. “This is something we must do, and must do successfully.” At the time, the PRC believed that there was no possibility that the United States would approve Lee’s visit -- after all, Foreign Minister Qian Qichen had already reported to the Party Center that the US Administration had turned down Lee’s request. So, Zeng’s response to Su was “you have your own position, we have our position, so when the time comes, if there’s to be criticism from our side, we’ll still have to criticize” (dao shihou piping, hai shi yao pipingde).

It was to be the last meeting with Zeng. On April 4, 1995, Lee Teng-hui completed his visit to United Arab Emirates and Jordan. At the end of his visit to Amman, Lee’s motorcade drove out to Mount Nebo overlooking Galilee. Lee trudged to the top of Nebo’s ridge and looked into the ancient land of Canaan and stared quietly into the Promised Land. He returned to Taipei the same day, and told the waiting press that

I saw the place where Moses died on Mount Moses. I know the story. Where did Moses and Joshua go after their departure? It is unclear. Later on, Joshua went to the Jordan River to develop the area and rebuild his homeland. We must understand two things in this segment of history. First, it is about the place where Moses died; this is not clearly mentioned in history. People say that he died on the mountain. Second, the mountain is a nice place. Looking down from it, we can see the Dead Sea; looking across, we can see the entire area occupied by the Jordan River plain. It is a very interesting place. I approach this matter from various angles, not from biblical or religious viewpoints.

Zeng Qinghong was good to his word. The PRC press and the PRC-controlled press in Hong Kong published a number of scathing articles haranguing Lee for his messianic delusions, and excoriating his independentist proclivities.

And when Lee actually did manage to wangle an invitation to speak at Cornell University and gain White House approval (announced on May 21), the Chinese reaction was initially confined to propaganda hot air. In fact, the chief of the PRC State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Tang Shubei, arrived in Taipei on May 24, to do advance preparations for a scheduled visit of PRC negotiator Wang Daohan.

But it is doubtful that the Lee Teng-hui visit to Cornell in June 1995 had anything to do with the interruption of the “secret envoy” channel with Zeng Qinghong. Zeng’s meetings with Su Chi-ch’eng were halted in April -- apparently because their existence was leaked by pro-China legislator Yu Mu-ming during a session of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan. When news appeared in the Taiwan press, Su received notification from “the other side” that “hereafter, it is inconvenient to see each other.” Legislator Yu seemed to have had ties with the Yang Shangkun “Anti-Jiang Faction” in Beijing, and according to the Lee Teng-hui biography, the leak was inspired by their desire to undermine Jiang -- aided and abetted by pro-China politicians in Taiwan who wanted to wound Lee.


(Continued at











1 Jia Qinglin suffers from a universally bad reputation. Reporting from Agence France Presse, Reuters and The Associated Press shortly after his appointment to China’s leadership also included commentary on his wife’s reputed links with massive corruption and smuggling schemes. My own recollections of his promotions in Fujian were that they were the result of having impressed Jiang Zemin of his personal loyalty to Jiang. His loyalty to Jiang is an accepted factor in Chinese politics. See China News Digest at
Even the normally hagiographic Chinese leadership profile of Wu that appeared in the Hong Kong PRC press was unable to list many of Wu’s accomplishments in Shanghai -- other than attributing to Wu credit for the success of the Shanghai stock exchange and the development of the Pudong Zone -- both of which seem to have been the result of Zhu Rongji’s policies, not Wu’s. See Tseng Hua, "Wu Bangguo Studies Treaties on Financial Affairs Intensely -- brief biography of the Shanghai CPC Committee secretary”; Hong Kong TA KUNG PAO in Chinese 22 Jun 94 p A 1 translated by Foreign Broadcast Information Service at FBIS-CHI-94-137.
Tamora Vidaillet, “‘Young’ Guangdong chief joins China powerful”; Reuters English News Service, November 15, 2002.
See Tamora Vidaillet, “China's Mr Integrity picked to weed out party graft”; Reuters English News Service, November 15, 2002. Vidaillet refers to Wu’s “unswerving support for Jiang,” but cites Hamilton College professor Cheng Li’s opinion that "Wu Guanzheng has been a rising star because he is a capable leader. He's also someone the different factions can accept.” For a broader view of Wu, see Cheng Li, China’s Leaders, The New Generation; Lanham, Md.: Rowan & Littlefield, 2001.
John Pomfret, “New Guard In China Marks No Clear Path”; Washington Post, November 16, 2002; Page A01;
For a plausible discussion of the Politburo Standing Committee rivalries see a collection of articles under the general title of “Si Changwei fan Jiang Lianren” (Four Standing Committee members oppose another term for Jiang); Hong Kong Kaifang magazine, September 2002, pp10-23.
see, among others, Xu Xiangli, “Beidaihe Huiyi Wei 16 Da Yicheng Dingdiao” (Beidaihe Conference sets agenda for 16th Party Congress); Taipei China Times, July 9, 2002 at,3546,1... and Zhu Jianling, “Beidaihe Huiyi 16 Da Feng Xiang Qiu” (Beidaihe Conference and the 16th Party Congress to have far-reaching impact); Taipei China Times, July 19 2002, at,3546,1.... In English, see Charles Hutzler, “China Party Chief Could Cling To Post Leaving Less for Hu”; The Wall Street Journal, July 2, 2002;,,SB1025546134720334600.djm,00.html; John Pomfret, “Chinese Leader Throws a Curve Jiang’s Reluctance to Retire Could Spark Power Struggle” Washington Post July 21, 2002; Page A01,;
see Erik Eckholm, “China's New Leader Promises Not to Sever Tether to Jiang”, The New York Times, November 21, 2002, p. A16.
“Quan Jun he Wujing Budui Guangda Guan Bing Jianjue yonhhu xinde Dang Zhongyang he Zhongyang Junwei” (The Broad Mass of Officers and Ranks of the Entire Army and Armed Police are determined to support the new Party Center and the New CMC); People’s Liberation Army Daily (hereafter “PLAD”), page one at
(see Wang Zhuozhong “Party and Army each have their own center, PRC Army must be loyal to two chiefs” [Dang, Jun Ge you zhongyang, Gong Jun Liangtou Yucheng]; Taipei China Times, November 18, 2003, at,3546,1....
(See “Studying the ‘Three Represents’ truly is acting according to reality” [Xue ‘Sange Daibiao’ Zhen Zhua Shi Gan]; People’s Liberation Army Daily, March 4, 2003, available at
see Xu Yufang, “Chinese military blasts confusion at the top”; Asia Times, March 11, 2003. At
Ching-Ching Ni, "New Premier in China Has Gone Along to Get Along"; Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2003
Unless otherwise noted, all other information relating to Wen’s career prior to his return to Beijing come from Yang Zhongmei, Pingbu Qingyun, Zhonggong Xin Zongli Wen Jiabao (Striding Along with Destiny, the PRC's New Premier Wen Jiabao); China Times Cultural Publishers, Taipei, 2003, ISBN 957-13-3952-0. This is a comprehensive and readable (but neither footnoted nor indexed) biography which includes details from Wen Jiabao's early career that appear nowhere else in open sources. All the events, however, seem plausible and the narrative is consistent with other reporting of Wen's career. The author was raised and educated in the PRC and apparently takes much of the hagiography of Chinese media leadership profiles at face value.
Yang Zhongmei, p. 28. Yang doesn’t say which warring side burned the town.
One source says Wen Pengjiu was the PRC Consul General in Geneva during the 1960s. Zhang Weiguo, “Zhongnanhai Budaoweng Wen Jiabao” (Zhongnanhai’s ‘Bounce-back doll’ Wen Jiabao), Hong Kong Kaifang (Open Magazine), July 2002, p. 34.
See Tianjin Nankai Zhongxue Chule Liangge Zongli" (Tianjin's Nankai Middle School produces two Premiers); New York World Journal, March 19, 2003, p. 6.
The Geology Institute was very much in the camp of the Cultural Revolution Group, later infamous as the “Gang of Four”, while the “Heaven Faction” supported Premier Zhou Enlai. See David and Nancy Dall Milton, The Wind Will Not Subside, Years in Revolutionary China 1964-1969; Pantheon Books, New York, 1976, pp. 206, 240-1.
Wang Haitao, “Wen Jiabao he tade Jiating” (Wen Jiabao and his family), Hong Kong Kaifang (Open Magazine), April 2003, p.29-30.
“Wen Jiabao Qi Shi Baoshi Jianding Zhuanjia” (Wen Jiabao’s Wife Zhang Peili is expert gemologist); New York World Journal, March 20, 2003; tb.htm
Wahg Haitao (Wen), p. 31.
Yang Zhongmei, p.24. Wang Haitao (Wen p. 31) says that Yunsong is a computer prodigy, and tried to get a job in Beijing with a foreing firm after graduating from a U.S. school. The firm wouldn’t hire him fearing repercussions of having a leader’s son , so Yunsong started his own firm in Beijing called UNIHUB. UNIHUB now has major contracts with Dell and Northern Telecom, and maintains offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan. Yunsong also conducts business under the alias “Chen Song.” The March 20, 2003 issue of Hong Kong’s Yi Zhoukan (Next magazine) says that in 1999, Wen Yunsong formed a venture in Hong Kong called “Unihub Global Network” with tycoon Li Ka-shing as his partner. Wen’s daughter Ruchun is a graduate student at the Nanjing International Relations Institute where she “buries her head in books”, and basically treats everyone with respect – “not like most children of high cadres”.
Cheng Li, pp. 117-118
Yang Zhongmei, p.55
Yang Zhongmei, p.55
this narrative is essentially taken from Yang Zhongmei, pp 70-72
Yang Zhongmei, p.71. The earliest congratulatory letters to the Center came between June 5 and June 12. Hu Jintao’s letter of support -- one of the earliest -- apparently came on June 7. See “Tibet Supports Central Policy on Crackdown” broadcast on Lhasa Tibet Regional Service in Mandarin 1330 GMT 9 Jun 89, transcribed by Foreign Broadcast Information Service in the FBIS Green Book for June 13, 1989 at FBIS-CHI-89-112, p. 57.
Yang Zhongmei, p. 71.
The author was deputy Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou from August 1989 to July, 1992.
Yang Zhongmei, p. 74.
“Zeng shi Zhao Zong Shuji Deli Zhushou, Ru Jin Bi Tan Zhao Ziyang” (Once a powerful Zhao Ziyang Aide Wen Jiabao now avoids discussing Zhao Ziyang); New York World Journal, March 19, 2003.
Andrew J. Nathan and Bruce Gilley; China’s New Rulers: The Secret Files; Granta Books, London, 2002; pp. 96-97. This book is remarkable for how much of its prognostication about the outcome of the 2002 16th party congress was dead wrong -- and that only serves to bolster the view that it incorporates the tendentious views of partisans of the Politburo’s reformist maverick Li Ruihuan. Nonetheless, the raw material used by the pseudonymous “Zong Hairen” is fully plausible and in the end accurate, and includes details unavailable in open sources although perhaps Zong uses the information for his own -- ultimately unsuccessful -- purposes.
Yang Zhongmei covers this aspect of Deng’s new ideology succinctly at p. 78.
See Guan Juan, “Deng Personally Mediated Disputes Between Qin Jiwei and Yang Baibing”; Hong Kong Cheng Ming magazine, No. 180, October 1, 1992, pp 19-20. Translated in FBIS-CHI-92-199 pp. 27-28. This article was viewed in the US intelligence community as the first indication of a major revolt among the old soldiers and a harbinger of Yang’s demise. Yang Zhongmei says on page 81 that 103 senior general officers wrote the letter to Deng warning that the “Yang Brothers” were violating the dictum that “the party should control the gun.”
For a full biographic review of Hu Jintao’s career see John J. Tkacik, Jr., Joseph Fewsmith, and Maryanne Kivlehan, “Who's Hu? Assessing China's Heir Apparent, Hu Jintao”, Heritage Lecture #739
available at
While “Deng Xiaoping Theory” was not explicitly named in the Party Charter, it is clear that the revisions were adopted wholly from Deng’s policies. The best analysis of this is contained in “Revised Party Constitution Strengthens Reformers’ Cause”, published in the Foreign Broadcast Information Service FBIS TRENDS of November 12, 1992, pp. 1-6. All other Congress documents, however, explicitly linked the wording of the CCP constitution amendments to “Deng Xiaoping Theory.” Also see
Jiang Zemin was first identified as the “core” of the leadership by Premier Li Peng in a meeting with “democratic and nonparty personages” on June 28, 1989 (see “Li Peng Admits that Jiang Zemin is the Core of the New Leading Body”, Wen Wei Po, June 29, 1989, p. 1, transcribed by FBIS at FBIS-CHI-89-124, p. 17). The term came from Deng Xiaoping’s speech to the new Politburo Standing Committee on June 16 when he declared “In the leadership of the third generation, there should also be a core . . . this leadership core is Comrade Jiang Zemin, whom we agreed to select.” The title stuck, and had been an official part of Jiang’s leadership roles ever since. See “’Full Text of Gists’ of Deng Xiaoping’s Speech to Members of the New Political Bureau Standing Committee” given on June 16, 1989, Tung Fang Jih Pao, Hong Kong, July 15, 1989, p.6, transcribed at FBIS-CHI-89-136, p. 13.)
Nathan and Gilley, p. 97
Yang Zhongmei, p. 103
Ching-Ching Ni, “New Premier in China Has Gone Along to Get Along”; The Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2003, at,1,5650141...
Yang Zhongmei, pp. 108-9.
"Special dispatch": "Wen Jiabao Puts Forward Principles for Rebuilding Disaster Areas"; Hong Kong Ming Pao in Chinese 22 Oct 98 p B18.
"Wen Jiabao To Head Central Financial Work Group" Hong Kong Hsin Pao (Hong Kong Economic Journal) in Chinese 12 Mar 98 p 1
Lu Ru-lue: "Wen Jiabao Is Almost Certain to Be the Next Premier"; Hong Kong Hsin Pao (Hong Kong Economic Journal) in Chinese 04 Dec 00 p 24; translated by FBIS at CPP20001204000043
(citing Beijing Xinhua) “Wen Jiabao ti Jinrong Gongzuo Wu Renwu” (Wen Jiabao outlines five points for financial reforms); New York World Journal internet edition , January 28, 2003, at
Ruan Leyi et al, “Wen Jiabao Gao Piao Dang Xuan Zhonggong Zongli” ( Wen Jiabao elected PRC Premier with top vote); China Times Internet Edition, March 17, 2003. Notes that Hu Jintao got 99.7% of vote for MAC vice chairman, while Jiang Zemin’s successful bid for a seconf term as MAC Chairman received “yes” votes from 92.5% of the NPC delegates.
Wang Zhuozhong, “Wen Jiabao Neige, Caijing Renma duo Jiang Pai” (In Wen Jiabao Cabinet Finance Experts mostly JZM cronies); China Times Internet Edition March 9, 2003,
“Hua Jianmin jiang ren Guowuyuan Mishuzhang” (Hua Jianmin to be State Council Secretary General); New York World Journal internet edition . March 9, 2003.
“Siwei Fu Zongli dou shi Zhengzhi Ju Chengyuan” (Four new Vice Premiers are all Politburo members); New York World Journal internet edition; March 20, 2003,
Among Jiang’s factionalists are State Councillor and Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang , Minister of National Defense Cao Gangchuan, foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan, State Councillor Chen Zhili, and personnel minister Zhang Bolin who was Zeng Qinghong’s aide in the central organization department. See “Wen Neige Renshi, Jiang Xi reng ju Yaojin” (In Wen’s cabinet, Jiang people hold strategic positions); New York World Journal internet edition March 18, 2003 
Jeffrey Sparshott, “China to feel farm trade pressure”; The Washington Times, February 15, 2003
“Jie Zongli hou, Wen Jiabao jiang dajian Nongye shui” (After ascending to the Premiership, Wen Jiabao will grant huge cuts in agriculture tax); New York World Journal internet edition; March 11, 2003 at
“Shang ren di ba dao, Wen Jiabao qian xiang chi Huangliang Rongguan” (First to get the knife after his appointment, Wen Jiabao takes aim at ‘supernumerary officials who eat imperial grain); Taipei China Times internet edition, March 10, 2003;,3546,1...
“Wen Jiabao: Dangqian Jingji Renwu, Shouzhong Fang Tongsuo” (Wen Jiabao: Deflation Fight is Biggest Economic Mission at Present); New York World Journal internet edition, July 18, 2003
“Wen Jiabao Gua shuai, Zhiding Keji Fazhan Zhan lue” (Wen Jiabao Takes Command, Sets Strategy for Science and Technology Development); New York World Journal internet edition, June 19, 2003, at
“Wen Jiabao Qianchang Xinxihua Lingdao Xiaozu” (Wen Jiabao takes over E Commerce Leading Small Group); New York World Journal internet edition, July 6, 2003.; see also “Wen Jiabao zu Kaichuang Xinxihua Xin Ju” (Wen Jiabao urges informationalization of new bureaus); New York World Journal internet edition, July 24, 2003
John Pomfret, "China's Slow Reaction to Fast-Moving Illness, Fearing Loss of Control, Beijing Stonewalled"; Washington Post, April 3, 2003; Page A18
John Pomfret, “SARS Coverup Spurs A Shake-Up in Beijing”; Washington Post April 21, 2003; Page A01;
Yang Zhongmei, p. 187.
P. 196
John Pomfret, “President Responded to Pressure Inside and Outside Country on SARS”; Washington Post, May 13, 2003; Page A01 at
Boxun,.com ( at has provided a running tab of SARS reporting from Guangdong since February 10 -- see .
As late as April 2, the Guangdong provincial government was reporting the alarming figures it had, but maintained political correctness by couching them in soothing terms. See Shen Gan, "Wo Sheng Feidianxing Feiyan 3 Yuefen Bingli Mingxian Xiajiang" (The Number of New SARS Cases in Guangdong Province Show Clear Decline During March); Nanfang Daily, Guangzhou, China April 2, 2003. Text available at internet site (
Yang Zhongmei, p. 191
Zeng Liming, "State Council Information Office Holds Press Conference on Prevention and Control of Atypical Pneumonia"; Zhongguo Xinwen She disseminated at 1251 GMT on April 3, 2003; translated by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service at FBIS-CHI-2003-0403
John Pomfret, May 13, 2003.
Rob Gifford, "China and SARS"; audio broadcast report for National Public Radio, April 9, 2003. Audio portion available at Jiang sought out several foreign reporters on April 9 and 10 giving each separate interviews.
According to John Pomfret’s May 13 report, the wake-up call came earlier. “Hu and Wen's push for change began gathering momentum. On April 9 and 10 they arranged for experts and respected non-members of the party to meet with senior government and party officials to discuss the crisis. The consensus from those meetings, according to participants, was that China should stop covering up its epidemic and begin working closely with WHO and other agencies to deal with the virus.”
“Jiang Zemin dao Shanghai bi SARS? Bei Da Xuesheng Bu Man” (Did JZM go to Shanghai to escape SARS? Beijing University Students Unhappy); New York World Journal internet edition, April 27, 2003
“Baozhang Lingdao Ceng, Zhanshi Lingdao Tizhi Qidong” (To ensure the leadership levels, the Wartime leadership structure is mobilized); New York World Journal internet edition, April 27, 2003
See Chang Fan, Chung Hsueh-ping, "Meng Xuenong: Capital's Epidemic Situation Under Control"; Hong Kong Wen Wei Po internet edition, 14 Apr 03, translated by FBIS at CPP20030414000031
Charles Hutzler, Karen Richardson and Todd Zaun, "Beijing Authorities Grant Slow Access to WHO Team; China's Limited Response Could Hinder Global Effort To Control SARS Outbreak"; The Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2003; page A-17.
Erik Eckholm, “China Said to Take 2 Weeks to Disclose Sub Disaster”; The New York Times, May 5, 2003 at
John Pomfret, May 13, 2003.
P. 199
Yang Zhongmei, P. 202
See Tang Qing , “Jiang Zemin ‘flees to Shanghai’ Internet-ers bombard Jiang and his cast for being ‘ignominious’”; Association for Asian Research (AFAR), May 04, 2003
I have not been able to locate these postings on the Beijing University site.
“Jiang Zemin Qin Pijun Ji Diao Junyi Yuan Jing” (Jiang Zemin Personally OKs Emergency Detail of Military Doctors to aid Beijing); New York World Journal internet edition; April 29, 2003. Also see Yang Zhongmei, P. 202
John Pomfret, “Report Offers Few Clues to What Caused Overcrowded Vessel to 'Malfunction'” Washington Post, Saturday, May 3, 2003; Page A19
See image files of the PLAD front pages at through -- for two full weeks, Hu Jintao dominated the PLAD to the exclusion of Jiang Zemin. Jiang returned on June 7, and Hu was little seen until June 19. From June 19 through June 28, Jiang and Hu share the front pages of the PLA Daily more or less equally. Random checks for July and August seem to bear this out. I strongly recommend anyone with access to hard copies of the PLAD to riffle through them for a better idea of PLAD coverage of Hu in recent days.
Liu Tong, “Wei Jiang Zemin Shinian Ding Qiankan” (A Decade of Deciding Heaven and Earth for Jiang Zemin), Hong Kong Kaifang (Open magazine), July, 2002, p. 30.
Wang Haitao, “Da Nei Quan Mo Gaoshou Zeng Qinghong” (The Great Internal Puppetmaster Zeng Qinghong), Hong Kong Kaifang (Open Magazine), July, 2002, p. 31.
Wang Haitao, p. 31
Zong Hairen, Di Si Dai (The Fourth Generation), Hong Kong Mirror Books, 2002, p. 332.
Zeng Shan is cited as a key Mao aide in at least two accounts of the Futian Incident. Benjamin Schwartz, Chinese Communism and the Rise of Mao, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1951, pp. 174-177. See also Otto Braun, A Comintern Agent in China 1932-1939, London, C. Hurst & Company, 1982. p. 57,
Cheng Li, p. 160. Li cites Klein and Clark, Biographic Dictionary of Chinese Communism, and private correspondence with Dai Qing.
Ting Wang: "'Sunset Group' Strong Man Zeng Qinghong Has Great Potential", Hong Kong Hsin Pao (Hong Kong Economic Journal) in Chinese May 31, 2000 p 30, FBIS number CPP20000531000073
Wang Zhuozhong, “Changzheng Nyu Hongjun Zeng Qinghongzhi Mu Deng Liujin Bingshi Beijing” (Female Red Army Veteran of the Long March, and Zeng Qinghong’s Mother, Deng Liujin dies in Beijing), Taipei, China Times internet edition, July 24, 2003.
Zong Hairen, p. 263.
Wang Haitao. p. 32.
Zong Hairen, p. 263.
Ting Wang. It is interesting to note that Chen Yi was Mao’s chief military lieutenant at the Futian Incident. N See Howard L. Boorman, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, New York, Columbia University Press, 1967, p. 256. It is also interesting to note that Hu Jintao apparently alienated Chen Haosu when Hu served as Party Secretary of the Communist Youth League. See Yi Ming, "The Logical General Secretary Designate; Among the Seven CPC Politburo Standing Committee Members, Hu Jintao Ranks Fifth and Is the Youngest, At 54," Chiu-shih Nien-tai (The Nineties), Hong Kong in Chinese, January 1, 1998, No. 1, pp. 50-52.
Wang Zhuozhong.
(no author) “Yi Ren Zhixia, Wan Ren Zhishangde ‘Jiuqian Sui’ Zeng Qinghong” (Second to One, Lord of the multitudes, May Zeng Qinghong have a ‘pretty long life’), Secret China, July 16, 2002, at (
Zong, p. 264.
See Secret China above.
Mark A. Stokes, “The People’s Liberation Army and China’s Space and Missile Development”, Chapter 6 of Burkitt et al., eds, The Lessons of History: The Chinese People’s Liberation Army at 75, Carlisle, US Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 2003, Pp. 197-8.
Zong, p. 264-265
see Secret China, July 16, 2002, footnote above.
Zong, p. 266. Cheng Li says that Zeng did not join the PLA at this point, p. 162.
Zong, p. 269-270. See also Nathan and Gilley, p. 85.
David and Nancy Milton, pp. 114-5,183, 196, 240, 244, 311-312., for the conviction see Zong, p.334
Zong, p. 268, Nathan, p. 85.
Zong, p. 270
Liu Tong, p. 28
For an account of the official reaction to the World Economic Herald’s excesses, see Zhang Liang, Andrew Nathan, and Perry Link, The Tiananmen Papers, New York, PublicAffairs, 2001, pp. 91-94.
Liu Tong, p. 28
Liu Tong, p. 29. The PRC-owned press in Hong Kong reported on June 1989 that “Jiang Zemin had left Shanghai and worked in Beijing for several weeks.” See “Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to Undergo a Major Reshuffle”, Wen Wei Po, June 23, 1989, p. 1, transcribed at FBIS-CHI-89-120, p. 7.
Nathan and Gilley, pp. 96-97.
Zong, p. 273.
Liu Tong p. 29.
Zong, p. 275.
Zong, p. 276.
Zong, p. 277.
including General Xiong Guangkai – who was the only general on the list who was finally promoted.
Zong, p. 280
Ibid. Yu was mayor of Qingdao (and is now a Politburo member and CCP Party Secretary for Hebei) and Liu was mayor of Kunming and was later vice governor of Yunnan.
Zong, p. 281.
Zong, p.282.
Ibid (Shi Beijing Shi chengwei Jiang Zemin Shui Pobujin.)
Bruce Gilly, Tiger on the Brink: Jiang Zemin and China’s New Elite, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1998, p. 243. Gilley cites a Reuters wire service report of April 30, 1995.
Unless otherwise noted, all information on the Chen Xitong affair is from Zong pp. 285-88, and Nathan and Gilley pp.154-57.
Marcus W. Brauchli, “Beijing and McDonald's Settle Location Dispute”, The Asian Wall Street Journal, December 14, 1994, p. J. 1; Peggy Sito, “Work stopped on troubled McDonald's site Li Peng steps into plaza row”, South China Morning Post, December 22, 1994, p. 1. See also the description of the threat in Gilley’s Tiger, pp. 242-245.
Gilley, Tiger, p.245.
Zong, p. 287.
A long account of the “secret envoy” talks from 1988 to 1995 held under the auspices of a Hong Kong-based, Rasputin-style “Qigong Master” and Zen philosopher named Nan Huaijin, is related in Lee Teng-hui’s authoritative (if not wholly “authorized”) biography. See Zou Jingwen, Li Denghui Zhizheng Gaobai Shilyu (A True Account of Lee Teng-hui’s Tenure), Chengyang Chuban She, Taipei 2001, pp. 192-214.
Zou Jingwen, p. 201. All other information about the “secret envoys” is from Zou’s book unless otherwise noted.
See “Li Teng-hui News Conference on Mideast Trip”; Taipei China Times, April 5, 1995, pp. 1-2, transcribed by FBIS at FBIS-CHI-95-072.
Zou Jingwen, p. 204

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