Anything for Power: The Real Story of China’s Jiang Zemin—Chapter 23

Anything for Power: The Real Story of China’s Jiang Zemin—Chapter 23
(Luis Novaes/Epoch Times)

Jiang Zemin’s days are numbered. It is only a question of when, not if, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party will be arrested. Jiang officially ran the Chinese regime for more than a decade, and for another decade he was the puppet master behind the scenes who often controlled events. During those decades Jiang did incalculable damage to China. At this moment when Jiang’s era is about to end, Epoch Times here republishes in serial form “Anything for Power: The Real Story of Jiang Zemin,” first published in English in 2011. The reader can come to understand better the career of this pivotal figure in today’s China.

The full series is available here

Chapter 23: Reaping the Whirlwind: Final Judgment of Jiang Is Due (Part 1)

While danger may be a frightening thing, not seeing danger coming is even more frightening.

While danger may be a frightening thing, not seeing danger coming is even more frightening.

During the years that Jiang Zemin was in power, every aspect of Chinese society began to experience crises. With the current façade of economic prosperity at hand, how many people have truly realized the danger in which Jiang has put Chinese society?

When a Chinese website introduced the misleading biography written by Kuhn, The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin, it emphasized that Jiang’s “merits and achievements” lay in “maintaining social stability, accelerating economic development,” and “finally causing China to undergo an irreversible, fundamental change.” From a certain perspective, these remarks are true, only the change that has taken place has been the exact opposite of what is described.

The “economic development” that occurred during Jiang’s era, which was realized at all costs, was a lopsided one that sacrificed social justice and the environment, and exhausted the resources that Chinese people would have had to rely on for future survival and development. The development has caused the environment to rapidly deteriorate, rendering it impossible for the Chinese economy to sustain long-term growth. China’s future generations are faced with an increasing threat to their survival.

The “stability” under Jiang’s rule was a precarious one that was created by the authorities taking extreme measures in order maintain power and protect their interests. It was a “stability” made via a pressure cooker, one that was achieved by silencing people’s voices. Its consequences, when things come to a head, will be devastating.

What is even more dreadful is that out of his selfish desire to maintain his own authority, Jiang ruled the country with corruption, and turned the political, economic, and cultural elites into a huge interest group. The power system has been so degenerate as to become a tool for these elites to plunder the national resources. Maintaining the interests of this group has become the best way for these people as individuals to get ahead. Also, the Party does not have the checks of an independent media or other checks from outside, so the impetus for the Party to improve is completely nil. Corruption and underhanded politics have been rampant, and the morality of society as a whole is on a rapid downslide. From ordinary citizens to members of the government, people have keenly sensed the rampancy of the corruption and have felt that the terrible situation is irreversible. Deterioration of this degree will eventually lead many of the current achievements to fail; they are like a mirage or a house built on sand. Not everyone is aware of the gravity of the situation, however.

This chapter will discuss the crises and disasters that Jiang Zemin brought upon Chinese society during his rule, touching upon the environment, the economy, the political arena, sociology, education, and morality.

1. Ecological Crisis: Plundered Land

Jiang’s economic development strategy was, in essence, focused on GDP (Gross Domestic Product) only. Jiang flaunted his own “achievements” merely by talking about the GDP’s rapid rise, and simultaneously used GDP growth as the guideline to assess local officials’ achievements.

Natural resources are limited, however, and the capacity of the environment to absorb disposed waste is also limited. If the current over-development results in the destruction of the environment and the destruction of non-renewable resources that China would have relied on in the future, then the development is doing a disservice to the entire nation. In this sense, the lopsided economic growth of the Jiang era, which over-emphasized GDP, truly has “changed China”—China’s environment has undergone nearly irreversible and fundamental destruction.

According to a story from Xinhua News Agency on March 3, 2004, head of the Sustainable Development Strategy Research Group of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Niu Wenyuan, said that a considerable part in China’s GDP growth figures had been achieved at the cost of later generations. In 2003 China produced less than 4 percent of the world’s total economic output, but consumed about one third of the world’s energy and material, including raw coal, steel, and cement.

Xie Zhenhua, Director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) pointed out that, according to the World Bank’s estimate, in 1995 the loss caused by air and water pollution in China equated to 8 percent of the GDP that year. According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences’s calculations, in 2003 the loss caused by environmental pollution and ecological damage equated to 15 percent of the GDP.

When we put the above numbers side by side with Jiang Zemin’s 7–8 percent annual GDP growth rate (which discounted the costs), the Jiang era’s supposedly rapid development was actually large negative growth. From a long-term perspective, what Jiang did was no achievement; rather, it was a crime. No Chinese media of course ever dared to report on this issue. The situation is reminiscent of the fable, the Emperor’s New Clothes. This is another example of how the Party and Jiang have depended on each other for survival.

Land on the Verge, 150 Million People to Become Ecological Refugees

The Chinese people, since their childhood, have learned that China has vast territory and abundant resources, but in terms of per capita volume, China certainly is not a country with abundant resources. The average natural resource per person is half of the world’s average. But under Jiang’s governance, the ratio worsened.

Though big in size, China has large areas of tundra and barren plateaus, and the Gobi and other deserts. In 1980 the arable land was only an average of 0.32 acres per person. Because of the desertification and soil erosion caused by environmental degradation, by 2003 when Jiang Zemin stepped down, the average arable land per person was only 0.23 acres. In the first several years after the new century began, only as a result of the rapid urban sprawl, the nation lost approximately 16 million acres of arable land. According to the Ministry of Forestry’s data, in 1997 the total acreage of desert or desertified land was 1.689 million square kilometers, accounting for 17.6 percent of the country’s total land area. The figure grew to 1.74 million square kilometers in 2004, accounting for 18.1 percent of the country’s total land area. China’s soil erosion is the most serious of any country in the world, with eroded areas accounting for 38 percent of the country’s territory. Over 90 percent of the natural grassland in China has degenerated, and the annual increase of the degenerated grassland is 2 million hectares. In 471 counties of 18 provinces and regions, the arable land and the homelands of nearly 400 million people are being threatened by desertification.

Pan Yue, Deputy Director of the SEPA, once pointed out at the 2005 Fortune Forum that, at the current rate, in 15 years, China will have only six out of the current 45 major mineral resources. In five years, over 70 percent of China’s petroleum will have to be imported. Currently 40 percent of the main river system has become low quality water unfit even for irrigation or landscaping; more than 300 million people living in rural areas have no safe water to drink; more than 400 million city dwellers breathe dangerously polluted air, and 15 million people therefore suffer from bronchial diseases and respiratory tract cancer.

In addition, in 2003 the total emission volume of sulphur dioxide, the country’s main air pollutant, surpassed the capacity of the atmospheric environment by 80 percent. Regions in which there was acid rain accounted for approximately 30 percent of the national acreage; the detoxification processing of urban garbage fell short by 20 percent; only 21.5 percent of industrial hazardous waste is properly handled; nearly one third (33.2 percent) of all hazardous waste is stored improperly. When hazardous waste accumulates it becomes a significant source of pollution of the air, soil, surface water, and ground water. Five of the 10 most polluted cities in the world are in China.

It is important to note that, with Jiang’s GDP-centered development strategy, he only wished to take credit for the 8 percent annual GDP growth rate, but did not in the least take responsibility for the losses caused by acid rain to the ecosystem, human health, infrastructure, and cultural artifacts. When doing his calculations he of course conveniently overlooked the high medical expenses that both urban and rural dwellers bore because they incurred sickness from air and water pollution.

Statistics have indicated that, because arable land is being rapidly developed for urban uses, at present the total number of farmers in China who have lost their farm land is about 40 million, and it increases by more than 2 million per year. In February 2005, Pan Yue, in an interview with the media, cited experts as saying that, because the vast western area and ecologically vulnerable areas have difficulty sustaining the existing population, 22 provinces and cities need to transfer out 186 million people, but provinces and cities that could accommodate extra people, such as Guangdong, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Liaoning, Zhejiang, Fujian, Heilongjiang, and Hainan, could at most take in 30 million people. That means that 150 million people would become ecological refugees.

The Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), put out by the World Economic Forum of Davos, Switzerland, indicated that, among 144 countries and regions in the world, China was ranked 123, or 14th from the bottom.

Some have said that the 21st century is “the century of the rise of China.” But the question is, can the ecological resources that remain, after having gone through plundering and destruction under Jiang, sustain the huge Chinese nation?

The Water Resources Are Drying Up

Water resources are closely connected to the economy as well as common people’s daily lives; furthermore, water resources, unlike other critical resources such as minerals and even lumber, cannot really be imported. A nation must be able to sustain itself in terms of water resources. Historically, the depletion of water resources has meant destruction of a civilization.

China’s per capita freshwater resources rank 88th in the world, which is only approximately one-fifth to one-sixth of the world average. But in 1995 the Ministry of Water Conservation’s inspection indicated that, in China: among the 700 rivers, those with good water quality only accounted for 32.2 percent; by 2000, the polluted rivers more than doubled those in the 1980s; in 2003, the total discharge volume of the country’s main water pollutant, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), exceeded the capacity of the environment by 60 percent; 90 percent of the sections of river that flow through cities have been seriously polluted.

In addition, at times the middle and lower reaches of China’s mother river—the Yellow River—have completely dried up. In 2004 even the water outlet Eling Lake, the origin of the Yellow River, dried up! This great life source for the Chinese people, which they were once proud of, has quickly turned into a seasonal inland river that is on its last legs. Research indicates that at the source of the Yellow River, because over-grazing destroyed the vegetation, grasslands have degenerated into desert, damage from rats is rampant, wetlands are shrinking, and lakes are drying up. The environment is degenerating at an alarming rate. Not only that, but in 2003, 4.4 billion cubic meters of discharged sanitary sewage were dumped into the river, and one-third of aquatic life in the river has vanished due to pollution.

The Yangtze River, China’s largest, has also been terribly damaged. The sources of the Yangtze River are gradually drying up: in the last 10 years, the volume of the Tuotuo River has dropped approximately 20 percent per year; the Tuotuo and Tongtian River watersheds have dried up, with the soil becoming more sandy, and arable land quickly desertifying. During the last 20 years, the desert areas at the source of the river have increased by over 20 percent. The silt problem of the Yangtze River is reaching the level of that of the Yellow River, and it has also become the biggest sewer line in the world for sewage dumping. Each year, about 40 percent of the total sewage discharge in the nation goes into the Yangtze River; in 2003, that amounted to roughly 16.4 billion tons.

As the environment deteriorates, at the source areas of the Yangtze River, Yellow River, and Lancang River, such as Maduo, Zhiduo and Qu Macai counties, now more and more plateau herdsmen who used to live on the grasslands have become what are known as “ecological refugees.” In the 1980s, these areas were the richest places in the country. Nearly every herdsman has noticed the degradation of the environment taking place around him. Some chalk it up to the grasslands being exploited and say that the current generation “has eaten up the food of future generations.” The root cause of the disaster, in the final analysis, is that Jiang Zemin narrowly sought after rapid growth in the GDP. The environment in the region continues to worsen, not only bringing hardship to the people of that area, but also ultimately affecting the economy and the sustainable development of the Yangtze and the Yellow River regions.

In the fifth year of the Jiang administration, in mid-July 1994, a terrible incident of pollution took place in the Huaihe River. A polluted mass weighing 200 million tons rushed downstream, and destroyed the whole freshwater cultivation industry at the river’s middle and lower reaches. Industrial facilities in north Anhui Province stopped operating. Nearly a million people had no water to drink. Wherever the polluted mass traveled, the river’s surface was full of froth and dead fish, and the water was dark brown and emitted a strong odor.

There used to be a saying, “The scenery on the banks of Huaihe is better than anything for thousands of miles.” But at present, inhabitants along the Huaihe River do not even dare to touch the polluted water. There the cancer rate, brought about by water pollution, is more than 10 times the national average. But among the seven largest rivers in China, the Huaihe is only the third most polluted, following the Liaohe and Haihe Rivers. And the Yellow River tied for third. The Huaihe River provides a glimpse into the general state of Chinese rivers.

By 2004, when Jiang was about to step down, environmental controls had been imposed with regard to the Huaihe River for 10 years, and tens of billions of yuan had been put in the project, but what was actually achieved?

During the period from July 20–27, 2004, the Huaihe River contained the biggest polluted water mass in its history—the dark polluted water mass of over 500 million tons spanned 133 kilometers. The river suddenly became dark, with dead fish, shrimp and crabs floating for miles. The 10 years of pollution control seem to have all been for naught; instead, the river has become increasingly worse.

Some reporters went to investigate and discovered that a large number of factories along the Huaihe River had continuously to either overtly or secretly dump pollutants in the river. Even factories that had installed waste water treatment equipment and obtained quality control certificates merely used the sewage treatment equipment when inspectors came, because the processing of sewage increases production costs. Under Jiang’s rule, officials at different levels cared about only their own achievements—productivity, profit and taxes.

The head of the Huaihe River Basin Water Resources Conservation Bureau spoke frankly in a media interview, saying, “Many things won’t go the way you want. What can you do? The Lotus Flower monosodium glutamate factory (which is located on the Huaihe River) is the world’s biggest MSG factory, yet it is also the biggest source of pollution in the Huaihe River region. Could you close it? If you deal with pollution according to the national standards, it won’t turn a profit, and that’s how things are here.” In other words, the factory’s damage to the environment is being born by the inhabitants and fishermen along the Huaihe River. This is an example of what happened under Jiang’s drive to speed up economic development.

In addition, in 2003, 75 percent of the lakes experienced environmental degradation, particularly due to eutrophication. The conditions of Lake Chaohu, Dianchi Pond, and Tai Lake were especially serious. The water pollution is not merely restricted to the rivers, streams and lakes. In 2003, 21.5 percent of the seawater in areas near shores exceeded level-four pollution. The Worker’s Daily reported on June 4, 2004, that because of pollutants released by the chemical industry and from household waste water, the Bohai Sea coast is seriously polluted, and several of the rivers flowing into the Bohai Sea have varying degrees of pollution. The Bohai Sea is facing a serious threat. Oceanographers warn that the Bohai Sea’s environmental pollution has reached the tipping point. Unless prompt measures are adopted to stop the pollution, Bohai Sea will become a “dead sea” in 10 years. At that time, even if not a single drop of sewage was discharged into the Bohai Sea, it would take at least 200 years to restore its cleanliness. And the pollutants that have sunk into the bottom of the sea would be there for even longer.

According to the examination of the State Bureau of Oceanic Administration, inorganic salt, active phosphate, copper, COD, petroleum, and zinc found in the Bohai Sea far exceed national standards. In the seabed, mud and heavy metal components exceed national standards by 2,000 times. The Bohai Sea that had the reputation of “the fishing warehouse” has nearly no fish in it to catch. Moreover, in the once beautiful and rich Zhujiang River inlet area, now 95 percent of the sea water has been heavily polluted. The pollutants cause eutrophication in the ocean environment, resulting in increasingly serious conditions of “red tide,” where harmful algae growth threatens fisheries, recreation, human health, and the ecology of both marine and fresh bodies of water.

At the same time, among the 600-plus cities in the country, over 400 are experiencing water shortages. Fifty are in crisis conditions. Among the 32 large cities with a million or more people, 30 cities have been troubled by water shortages for a long time, and the situation is continuing to worsen. Even Shanghai, which is situated right next to the Yangtze and Huangpu rivers, has been rated by the United Nations as one of six cities in the world that will run short of water. Its proximity to the river can not make up for the low quality of the water resources. The Huangpu River’s water comes from Taihu Lake, whose water quality report in 2004 concluded that “the water quality of the various areas of the lake body is below the level-five standard.”

Despite the alarming rate of water pollution, because of the “high-speed economic growth” pushed forward at all costs by the Jiang administration, the amount of water used in China’s industries still largely surpasses that of developed countries by 10 to 20 times. For every 10,000 yuan of GDP in China, 103 cubic meters of water is consumed, compared with eight cubic meters in the United States and six cubic meters in Japan. The so-called “advanced productive forces” were precisely obtained by squandering the ecological resources that are already on the brink of exhaustion.

Because of excessive extraction of ground water, the land has sunken seriously in many places. In many cities, the soil has gradually formed a giant funnel-shaped hollow. At present, the funnel-shaped hollow that has developed in the North China Plain is at least 50,000 square kilometers. Some cities in Hebei Province have sunken 1.6 meters. If one draws a circle centering on Beijing of 800 kilometers in radius, the circle would encompass 2 million square kilometers, which is over one-fifth of the total land area of China. In this circle, there is no longer any perennial river, surface water has basically dried up, and ground water has been overdrawn far beyond capacity. In places such as Beijing, people have even used the ground water of 1,000 kilometers below the surface, which should not be used. It appears that the metropolis is flourishing, and tall buildings have been erected in great numbers. However, the amount of freshwater has dropped to less than 300 cubic meters per person, less than one-third of the international water resources warning line of 1,000 cubic meters per person, and is one-thirtieth of the world average. But the local authorities take no regard of the imminent crisis, and still pursue the so-called “high-speed economic growth.”

Over-extraction of groundwater has frightening consequences. First, after ground water is extracted, the surface rainfall must re-permeate, which commonly takes 100 years or longer. Second, the groundwater is an important component of various layers of the soil. After it is extracted, the ground sinks, and the vacuum is filled by other substances, such as sea water or polluted water. Even if the environment improves in the future, and surface water becomes sufficient and clean, there will be no way to squeeze out the dirty or salty water which has already occupied the vacuum in the ground. The dreadful impact of the current pursuit of economic prosperity will haunt us forever. In fact, cities like Qinhangdao are already confronting this frightening situation.

If the North China Plain ground no longer contains the freshwater, not an inch of grass will grow, and the land will become desert in an extremely short period of time. Several hundred million people will face the hopeless situation of being homeless and having no food. The East China Plain is now following in the footsteps of the North China Plain. This is not an exaggeration, but is the stark reality, one that is nearly impossible to reverse.

Water resources are merely one aspect of China’s environmental degradation. In fact, many resources such as forests, grasslands, and minerals have been greatly depleted under Jiang Zemin’s economic development policy centered on the GDP. Also, because of the degeneration in people’s values and the rights to state-owned property not being clearly defined, many think that if they don’t pollute or abuse public resources, others will anyway. Treating natural resources that way has caused the environment in China, a nation that already has population challenges, to be all but ruined.

A Disaster That Could Have Been Less Devastating

In 1972, the famous Club of Rome published a research report, titled “The Limits of Growth.” In the 1980s, the concept of sustainable development was proposed in Western countries, which pays great attention to the harmony between human beings and the environment. Scholars in China also carried out research along these lines as early as the early 1990s. In the meantime, a group of experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Peking University who acted as consultants in decision-making at the national level started to make recommendations along these lines. However, for Jiang Zemin, adopting a sustainable development strategy meant giving up the glory brought to him by rapid growth; for the Chinese Communist Party, it would have meant their “advanced productive forces” were nothing. Ten years later, when China’s environment was confronted with the current hopeless situation, the government could do nothing but adopt a sustainable development strategy. In 2005, at the Fortune Forum, Pan Yue, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, acknowledged that China’s environmental problems were not a technical problem, but a political issue. The root cause of the dismal situation is the distorted goal of economic development at all costs. Certain people suddenly became wealthy at the cost of the entire society’s environmental loss, and certain regions became prosperous at the cost of other regions’ environmental loss.

The 10-year delay in adopting a sustainable development policy meant that China missed the best time to adjust its developmental structure and improve its environment. Now, the consequences of many ecological disasters in China are nearly irreversible.

An ancient nation with a once glorious civilization that lasted thousands of years is facing an unprecedented, man-made disaster. But at this time the whole nation is still in an illusion of prosperity, repeating the CCP’s mantras of “the good days,” “a grand celebration of prosperous times,” and “times are better than before.”

2. Economic Disaster: The GDP Miracle in Perspective

In Robert Kuhn’s Biography of Jiang, he created a big fanfare about Jiang’s contributions to the economy. A lot of people have thought that China’s economy is remarkably good, but how many of them can actually see beneath the superficial prosperity to the hidden dirty deeds involved? How many of these people can uncover and understand the truth behind China’s outward economic prosperity, as well as the pitfalls and crises embedded in it?

China’s Economic Development Is Slower Than Other Countries

Shanghai in the 1930s was immensely prosperous, and its privately operated capital was very developed. However, after the CCP took power, Shanghai’s economic resources were entirely taken over by the State, and the Chinese people were economically suppressed and stifled. China’s economic resources were subsequently hindered by the planned economy, rendering them incapable of fully serving their function. This situation only slightly changed in the 1980s, but that was merely because the CCP returned to the common populace what it had originally robbed them of, and because the people’s economic creativity suffered from less repression by the CCP then. Therefore, the slight alleviation of this situation could not be chalked up to efforts by the Government, much less to Jiang Zemin.

In recent decades, almost all countries have experienced economic growth. By nature, the Chinese are assiduously industrious, so China’s economic growth should definitely surpass that of other countries. Yet in actual fact, China’s share in the world’s total economic output has decreased progressively. In the year 1955 when the CCP was initially established, after experiencing continuous destruction brought about by the two World Wars, a civil war, and the Korean War, China’s Gross National Product was 4.7 percent of the world’s total. In the year 2003 before Jiang Zemin fully withdrew from the political stage, China’s GNP fell short of 4 percent of the world’s total. China not only did not bridge the gap with developed countries and the world at an average pace; rather, the gap increased. Average per capita wealth in China also fell to nearly the bottom of the list.

Exaggerated Economic Growth Data

Jiang Zemin loved to boast and say empty things; he relished being praised by other people. He employed a policy of judging an official by his statistics, and narrowly emphasized the GDP figure. As a result, officials from all over China worked to inflate the figures related to them, and so the GDP figures were seriously distorted.

An official from the Chinese National Statistics Bureau said this when he was interviewed by The Financial Times regarding the issue of the fabrication of China’s statistics, “[China] has a lot of problems that cannot be solved by the Statistics Bureau alone, most especially those problems that are related to politics.” [1] An investigation revealed that of the over 670 branches under the four major commercial banks in 85 cities in China, 98 percent were found to have created false accounts and held anywhere from 2 to 8 different accounting books in order to deal with inspections. Even Zhu Rongji himself said that he would have to bring the GDP number down by 20 percent whenever it was given to him.

A few experts who had researched China’s economy for many years discovered that in the period between the years 1997–2000, official statistics revealed an economic growth of 24.7 percent, albeit energy consumption in the same period of time had gone down by 12.8 percent; China’s economic efficiency had hardly improved. These findings indicate that the economic growth statistics could not possibly be that high. In the annual report of the Hong Kong branch of CLSA (a brokerage firm), it stated, “With regards to the ‘data’ that showed China as having the world’s fastest economic growth, its value could not possibly be higher than the cost of the paper that it was written on.” It continued, “We cannot predict China’s economic growth in the years 2002–2003 because we lack the most fundamental statistical information that can structure a rough forecasting model.”

The Economy’s Lopsided Growth

Under Jiang, the economic development in many areas was based on the auctioning off of state assets in a disguised form. Numerous state factories sold their workshops to private owners or foreigners at a discount price, and that was counted as huge “profits.” Nonetheless, such profits came about from the sale of state assets that had not been appraised before they were put on the market. That wealth had long existed and belonged to the people but was taken over by the CCP, thus becoming gold without value. The wealth was re-released, and people who were unclear about the whole situation were easily misled. One study indicated that there was a massive transfer of national property to private hands, with an amount that reached as high as 5 trillion yuan. According to government released numbers, in 2003 China’s GDP totaled 11.7 trillion yuan.

Due to the officials’ blind pursuit of economic growth, China’s economy is continually dependent on high investments and high levels of energy consumption and pollution, yet the results have not improved. The mainstream state economy has never changed its condition of operating at a loss. In the year 2000, China’s 10,000 yuan GDP energy consumption was 3.4 times the world’s average level, and 9.7 times of Japan’s. This type of economic growth cannot possibly last for long; the world and China’s future generations will be unable to sustain it. The Economist stated that China has over-invested in its economy, with its investment accounting for 40–45 percent of its GDP. No economic entity would ever be able to sustain that kind of input. It also said that if the money had come only from investors, China’s surplus cement plants, iron and steel plants, as well as their automobile factories, could not have been built. Twenty-five years after China’s economic reform, their economy grew six times but their consumption of resources disproportionately grew dozens of times. If the ecological cost was calculated in, too, China’s economic growth would amount to a negative value.

Hidden Dangers and Crises

China’s economy is highly dependent on foreign trade. In 2004, China’s GDP stood at US$1.65 trillion, with the foreign trade turnover amounting to US$1.15 trillion; their dependence on foreign trade was approximately 70 percent. This sort of dependability carries with it a very big risk for China, as external factors may inevitably affect China’s economy. China is so large, yet half of its economy is actually sustained by foreign capital. This profoundly tells us the problems of the CCP’s economic system. A majority of State-owned enterprises are largely at a state in which heavy losses are accrued and lack the strength to compete in the international market; they are also bottomless pits for banks. If foreign capital evacuates, China’s economy will be in an inconceivable state. China’s present stage of luring foreign capital is about selling off at low prices its state-owned assets. The Chinese people’s labor is also being sold at a low price as China relies on the industrious nature of the Chinese workers to attract foreign investors. The benefits China has obtained came through sacrificing the interests of the Chinese people. If China’s economy cannot succeed in its transition and improve its results, the more China produces, the more the Chinese people will be exploited.

China’s economy is rather imbalanced. The disparity between rich and poor is almost the greatest in the world. The Chinese expression, “At the vermilion gate is the aroma of wine and meat; at the roadside are skin and bones frozen to death,” cannot even capture the sheer contrast between rich and poor. According to a survey by the China Academy of Social Sciences, though farmers make up 75 percent of the entire Chinese population, their total wealth does not even surpass 4 percent of the country’s wealth. This means that the average wealth of a farmer is only 1.3 percent of that of the average wealth of a person who resides in the city. The 800 million farmers in China are truly penniless. Thus, though it may be true that mansions and brand name cars are never meeting the demand, many people are actually depending on the sale of their blood and kidneys to maintain their livelihoods. Due to the discrepancy in the level of development in different regions, many provinces in mainland China still belong to what one could call the “fourth world” or even the “fifth world.” Due to the imbalanced distribution of wealth, the nation has more than 200 million impoverished people struggling to survive at the internationally-recognized lowest survival line (each person receiving US$1 a day) and below. Since the income of the common populace is not high, they cannot afford basic products. In actuality, mainland China’s continually high economic growth has been reliant on incurring large debts to boost flagging domestic demands and cover up the actual state of the economy, which was growing at an incredibly slow rate. The concealment was done to maintain superficial prosperity, even though problems were bound to surface if that approach continued for long.

The main reason behind the economic boom that people had seen was chiefly due to the agglomeration of wealth to a small number of areas and individuals, yet this could not hide the fact that a large majority of the Chinese are still mired in poverty. Once the social injustice triggers fierce popular resentment, the society will descend into crisis.

China’s financial industry is even more crisis-ridden. Standard & Poor’s estimated the proportion of bad accounts in banks in China to be at 45 percent; in other words, half of the common populace’s entire bank deposits had virtually floated away while Jiang Zemin was still collecting people’s money through selling national bonds, and manipulating the stock and real estate markets. A survey of stockholders by a financial and economic website in China revealed that in the four years between 2001 and April 2005, of the 70 million investors who had opened accounts in the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets, more than 94 percent of them lost half or more than half of their money. On June 6, 2005, the Shanghai stock market, after going through four years of a bear market, fell below 1,000 points, a nine-year low. The Chinese stock market value shrank from 1.7 trillion yuan four years ago to 700 billion yuan, with one trillion yuan simply having evaporated. Some investors resorted to posting online advertisements to sell their kidneys in the hope of recovering enough money to pay off the debts that they had incurred through dabbling in stocks. Nicholas Lardy, a senior analyst from the Brookings Institution in the U.S., warned that the increase in mainland China’s public debts and its banks’ bad debts reached an alarming level. The bad debts as well as government loans will be a heavy burden for the entire financial system. China therefore seems poised for sudden financial collapse.

Due to the officials’ corruption, the Chinese people’s financial situation is dreadful. Lyons Credit Negotiable Securities once made a comprehensive estimate of the debt situation of China’s county-level governments and thought the counties’ financial debt to be 3 trillion yuan, occupying 30 percent of that same year’s national GDP. By the end of 2003, Wen Jiabao issued an order to clean up village-level finances. In the midst of this, he found that the villages not only owed the banks and the credit unions as much as 400 billion in bad debts and non-performing debts, but also owed the farmers as much as 300 billion in borrowed funds. The officials had hoarded enough money by then and many fled, leaving the villages’ finances deep in the red. Nonetheless, all these are still conservative numbers. The large amounts of debt are like powerful explosives dangling over the heads of the local authorities, and they may explode at any time.

The high unemployment rate is another problem that cannot be ignored. China’s unemployment rate has reached 20 percent and above, making it one of the countries with the highest unemployment rate in the world. In cities, there are over 30 million unemployed, while in rural areas there are 100 million excess workers. The massive number of unemployed people has created a serious threat to social stability. One can see that beneath the apparent economic boom lie terrible economic and social crises.

Spending People’s Hard-Earned Money

Jiang Zemin not only brought China’s banks to bankruptcy, he also didn’t hesitate to spend people’s hard-earned money at will, adding burden to China’s already overheated economy. And in the end, it is the people who pay the price.

After 1997, the CCP expanded its fiscal expenditure by issuing state treasury bonds, using them to finance a variety of extravagant projects done simply to make the officials look good. As such, the deficit of the central government rose dramatically from 56 billion yuan in 1997 to over 300 billion yuan in 2002. For the national celebrations in 1999, Jiang Zemin spent a total of 180 billion yuan. Moreover, he spent over 3 billion yuan on the National Grand Theatre and 900 million yuan on an Air Force One-style airplane dedicated for presidential use. In 2001, Jiang Zemin acted as host to the APEC Conference in Shanghai and put on a show of fireworks, titled “So Beautiful Tonight,” which ate up US$3 million in one shot, and yet Jiang repeatedly said that the money spent was worth it. He paid virtually no attention to the fact that among the 900 million Chinese peasants, the average annual income was only 2,620 yuan per person, which is below the poverty line as drawn by the United Nations—the UN draws the line at a per capita annual income of no more than US$365, or a bit over 3,000 yuan. In 2003, a manned spacecraft “Shenzhou V” took off to the skies like the spectacular fireworks. Although the whole thing seemed encouraging, the actual effects were meager, and yet it cost close to US$2 billion. This is the equivalent of the total donations received over 16 years by China’s “Project Hope”; that is, 2.5 million pupils who can’t afford to go to school could have received aid.

Jiang Zemin also used a large amount of funds to persecute the Chinese populace. In the persecution of the Falun Gong alone, Jiang invested a quarter of the national economic resources. He spent 6 billion yuan on the so-called “Project Golden Shield” that monitors and blocks the information flow on the Internet in China. On Feb. 27, 2001, Jiang spent a lump sum of 4 billion yuan to have a large number of surveillance devices installed throughout China to monitor Falun Gong followers. Inside information from the Ministry of Public Security revealed that in 2001, for Tiananmen Square alone, as much as 17 to 25 million yuan per day was spent in finding and arresting Falun Gong practitioners, which is equivalent to an annual total of 620 million to 910 million yuan. In December 2001, Jiang spent a lump sum of 4.2 billion yuan to set up brainwashing centers or bases to transform Falun Gong practitioners. A large number of secret agents were dispatched abroad to monitor, disturb, and slander overseas Falun Gong followers, as well as to collect information for and compile a blacklist. A former officer of the 6-10 Office, Hao Fengjun, who defected to Australia in the summer of 2005, indicated that the data that a quarter of the national economic resources was used to persecute Falun Gong was quite accurate indeed.

Jiang has also spent large sums to silence other countries with regard to China’s human rights violations. During the China-Africa Cooperation Forum—the First Ministerial Conference in Beijing in 2000, held from Oct. 10–12—Jiang promised to continue providing developmental aid to African countries to the extent that he could, and that the amount of aid was expected to grow with China’s development. China would also forgive 10 billion yuan of debt on the part of the most debt-ridden, undeveloped African countries in dire poverty in the following two years, he said. In July 2002, Jiang forked over US$130 million in aid to the country of Nauru and established diplomatic relations with them in exchange. In 1999, Jiang gave Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and other countries aid that was worth 138 million yuan. At the end of 1998, Jiang provided 30 million yuan of aid to Mongolia. In May 2002, Jiang gave another US$30 million worth of aid to Afghanistan. In July 2000, Jiang gave away 70,000 square kilometers of land to Tajikistan in addition to providing another 50 million yuan worth of aid. On Nov. 12, 2001, in a meeting with Rwanda’s president Kagame, Jiang provided aid that was worth 30 million yuan to the Rwandan government. In addition, Jiang had freely given away common Chinese people’s hard-earned money in the form of aid to Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Nepal, the Bahamas, Uganda, Georgia and other countries.

Research has shown that under Jiang’s corrupt regime, in the latter half of the 1990s, the kinds of corruption that were so predominant led to economic losses and losses to consumer welfare ranging from 987.5 billion to 1.257 trillion yuan per year, which amounts to 3.2–6.8 percent of the Net Domestic Product. The research has indicated that these are conservative estimates, and that the actual economic loss is probably much higher. Another statistic revealed that the loss in income taxes and tariffs caused by corruption and embezzlement amounts to 8 percent of the GDP per year. In 2004 alone, China lost a total of US$80 billion in income taxes and tariffs.

In the latter years of Jiang’s reign, there was a direct, continual rise in economic corruption cases involving illegal and unregulated loans. From Chen Kejie to Wang Xuebing, and from Lai Changxing to Zhang Enzhao, the big cases of corruption were all largely connected with finance-related crime. Yet, more often than not, the truly serious cases were mostly not pursued. For example, land sales in Shanghai yielded 420 billion yuan in proceeds, 300 billion yuan of which is missing. The authorities once issued an order that all Shanghai municipal officials who apply to travel abroad must report in advance to the Central Politburo for approval. Nonetheless, all the big financial cases were let off after they were investigated because Jiang, or Jiang’s clique, was inevitably involved.

Jiang has a famous quote, “One must make a fortune silently.” One administrative order from Jiang was able to transfer to his son Jiang Mianheng control over China Telecom in 10 provinces in northern China, with several hundred billion worth in property. The Hongli Semiconductor Factory withdrew tens of billions of yuan from the bank with nothing as leverage. Since Jiang could do such things, his subordinates naturally followed his lead. Most of the banking system’s bad debts originated from these practices.

The outflow of capital was another salient characteristic of Jiang’s governance. Because corrupt officials have no confidence in the CCP, what they think of first after they embezzle money is depositing it in foreign banks. Capital flight rate is the ratio of capital outflow to the inflow of foreign investment capital. The capital flight rate in China was 52.3 percent before 1993, but has been increasing every year since. In certain recent years, the capital flight rate was even higher than 100 percent. Zhu Rongji admitted that the capital flight totaled over US$200 billion. In 2000 alone, capital flight reached US$48 billion, exceeding the total of US$40.7 billion inflow of foreign investment capital during the same year. In 2005, the People’s Bank of China officially issued a new set of regulations that bewildered people both at home and abroad, called “Interim Regulations on Administration of Personal Property Transfers and Sales to Overseas.” The main crux of its content was to allow mainland Chinese citizens to bring along their personal money and properties when emigrating, with no cap on the amount of personal wealth and property that they could take with them. As of June 30, 2003, a total of 6,528 CCP officials from 31 provinces were missing and 8,362 were verified to have escaped to foreign countries—3,905 of which were officials at or above the county level. It is not difficult to tell from the foregoing facts that China’s economy is built largely on exaggerated figures, therefore leading to serious intrinsic dangers and crises. Jiang’s frivolous spending of China’s public funds exacerbated the problem. A crisis could break out anytime.

3. Political Crisis: Degeneration of the Government, Deterioration of the Legal System, and Violation of Human Rights

Corruption and Organized-Crime-Like Behavior in the Government

In the 13 years when Jiang Zemin held the reins of power, the political system in China suffered a great setback.

Under Deng Xiaoping’s rule political reform had in fact been initiated, and when Zhao Ziyang was in power, there had been clear plans for political reform. The Party had begun to separate itself from China’s government, and the government had started to relinquish control of the country’s businesses. A public service system had started to materialize. But under Jiang Zemin’s rule, favoritism was used to appoint officials. Jiang also utilized political corruption as a tool to maintain his authority. Members of the Shanghai faction and Jiang’s own family members were planted at all levels of government. China’s political authorities thus started along the road to complete corruption.

This political corruption made a mess of China’s upper echelon. Bureaucrats colluded with businessmen and acted recklessly like bandits, which virtually turned the government into a criminal underworld. Buying and selling government titles became rampant. Corrupt and merely mediocre officials were promoted and entrusted with major responsibilities. The bureaucracy underwent unprecedented expansion. According to reports from the China Economic Times, in 2004 alone, as much as 700 billion yuan of taxpayers’ money was spent by the bureaucrats on food, drinks, entertainment, transportation, and trips abroad. This amount is equivalent to 9 years worth of tax revenue from Guangzhou City, over 538 yuan per capita among the 1.3 billion Chinese, or the sum total of all the wages for a month of average urban workers in middle and small cities. This is the largest group of corrupt, embezzling officials in Chinese history. The few officially publicized cases of corruption are only the tip of the iceberg. According to data released for the first time in 2004 by the Ministry of Commerce, there were over 4,000 corrupt officials who escaped and went overseas. The amount of funds they embezzled was estimated to be as high as US$50 billion.

The efficacy of the government has declined. According to official documents from the government, polls have shown that only 15–20 percent of civilians have good or satisfactory opinions of the provincial level Party committees and the government, only 10–15 percent of civilians have good or satisfactory opinions of the top leaders, and only 15–20 percent of civilians say that the overall social conditions are good or satisfactory. These survey results point directly to the disaster of the CCP’s rule. In a democratic and open society, such a low approval rate would have prompted any ruling party to be removed. The lag in political reform has hastened the already-existing crises in other aspects of Chinese society. When a government fails to shoulder its responsibilities toward its people and meet the public’s expectations, it can lead to complete distrust, disobedience, and even violent revolt.

The authority of the government has been so abused that it monitors and persecutes common people regularly. After Jiang Zemin gained power, he vigorously expanded the armed police forces. As a result, Chinese cities whose population is over 1 million have set up armed police forces on the regiment level or higher. They are special riot police meant to deal with ordinary people. In order to intimidate the people, Jiang lifted restrictions on killing by relegating the authority for approving a death penalty (except for economic crimes) to provincial High People’s Courts. Within a short period of time, the number of people sentenced to death rose drastically. Provinces began to compare the numbers of people sentenced to death in their province in order to boast about being “tough on crime.” According to figures disclosed by people working in judicial circles in mainland China, China has sentenced more people to death than any other country. In 2004, the China Youth Daily quoted the figures from a representative of the National People’s Congress who said that there was an average of 10,000 people in China who were sentenced to death and executed immediately every year. This number is five times more than the total cases of capital punishment meted out in all other countries combined. Also, according to the Amnesty International human rights organization, the number of inmates that China executed in 2004 consisted of 90 percent of the total executions in the world, yet China’s population only accounts for 20 percent of the world population. Some scholars have pointed out that in overseas Chinese communities, such as those in Hong Kong or Taiwan, the violent crime rate is not that high. From a historical perspective, the number of executions in ancient China during periods of peace was comparatively low in contrast to that of other countries during those times. In other words, the appalling execution figures are unique to contemporary China, or rather, to contemporary mainland China. The fact that so many people have been driven to crime whose punishment is execution not only demonstrates the inability of the Chinese Communist regime to effectively govern, but is also symptomatic of the regime’s dealing with problems not by taking responsibility and trying to improve things, but by violently ending lives.

Jiang’s administration never reflected on the mistakes it made and never attempted to redress them. The 1998 flood in China would not have had such devastating consequences if it weren’t for the poor decisions on the part of Jiang and his administration. In the end, the disaster was one of the worst in a century. If Jiang had moved earlier to discharge the Jing River of its water, the disaster could have been averted. In 2003, the spread of SARS to nearly 30 countries would not have victimized so many people and China’s image would not have been so tarnished if Jiang had not attempted to cover it up. The government would not have put forth so much effort to violently suppress the Falun Gong, an innocent and good exercise group that helps better society and improve people’s health, if it had not been corrupted by Jiang Zemin.

Because of pressure from Jiang, Hong Kong, once called the “Pearl of the East,” lost much of its former greatness and freedom. In June 2002, more than 90 Falun Gong adherents from countries like Japan, Sweden, the U.S., and Australia were denied entry into Hong Kong. The group included Taiwan’s famous orthopedic doctor Ao Man-Kuan. In February 2003, nearly 80 Taiwan Falun Gong adherents holding valid visas were forcefully repatriated when they tried to enter Hong Kong. In August 2003, when China-born Australian painter Zhang Cuiying was preparing to hold an exhibition of her work in Hong Kong, she was refused entry by authorities solely because of her status as a Falun Gong follower. A distinguished artist, Zhang Cuiying has been to many European countries and the Americas as an honored guest to hold exhibitions of her work. Her artwork is even collected by the president of the Ukraine.

Jiang Zemin’s rule was the turning point in the Chinese political scene, but for the worse. After Mao’s totalitarian rule, China had started making great strides to reform. The period during which Deng Xiaoping held power was seen as the transitional stage. But the path that was being laid by Deng Xiaoping and Zhao Ziyang was destroyed when Jiang Zemin came to power. Once again, the government was pitted against the people. Control and persecution of the populace to maintain government authority became the only goal, thus causing the CCP to lose any hope for peaceful reform. This change in the nature of the government and its rampant corruption has created a situation in which the CCP is unsalvageable. The road ahead of it leads only to collapse, and its members will not go unpunished for what they have done. Jiang, however, is the one ultimately responsible for destroying the system of government and dashing China’s hopes for reform.

The Complete Regression of the Chinese Legal System

In the last 10-plus years, with the effort of many legal experts rules and regulations have been gradually enacted in China. But under Jiang, the law was used only as his tool. He never stopped drawing lines, protecting his own trusted subordinates from the force of law. Jia Qinglin, who was implicated in the shocking case of Yuanhua, for example, was not ultimately punished for his crimes. Instead, Jiang bestowed him with the position of Politburo member. For those in power, starting from Jiang himself, the law exists only in name. In the case of ordinary people, the courts first cheat the defendant, then the plaintiff; there is little justice or fairness.

To facilitate his persecution of Falun Gong, Jiang Zemin established the Gestapo-like 6-10 Office. Granted the power to bypass restrictions at the local government level, the 6-10 Office is controlled directly by Jiang Zemin and Luo Gan. This is an obvious show of contempt for the Chinese legal system. In the process of persecuting the Falun Gong, the law became a tool for Jiang. Falun Gong practitioners were deprived of all rights to defend themselves; one attorney who bravely stepped forward to volunteer his services was threatened, and even had his license to practice law revoked. Under Jiang’s policy of eradicating Falun Gong by “destroying their reputation, ruining them economically, and eliminating each one of them,” the law was trampled upon and held in contempt to an unprecedented extent.

A Human Rights Disaster for China and the World

All people born on this Earth should have the right to live like a human being with dignity, freedom of thought, and basic human rights. As the rest of the world was moving towards democracy and freedom, political reform in China was hindered under Jiang Zemin’s reign. The public was deprived of its fundamental rights. Almost all individuals and groups that subscribed to a faith, had independent personalities, different opinions, or demands, including laid-off workers, religious groups, qigong groups, groups for democracy and human rights, media, and political dissidents, were persecuted to varying degrees.

Many ordinary people in China suffered unjust treatment at the hands of those in power, yet had no way to redress their grievances. Every year, the number of people who file appeals with the government can number up to hundreds of thousands. Official data released to the public estimated that more than 80 percent of those who appeal actually have reasonable causes or problems and difficulties, and should be rendered aid. However, in the end only about 0.2 percent of these problems are solved. Those people who have no alternative but to bravely appeal are kicked around from department to department by various officials like a soccer ball. Some are even subject to brutal persecution and physical retaliation. Under such desperate and hopeless circumstances, many people have not hesitated to use their lives as a weapon of resistance. On Oct. 17, 2003, the Beijing police held a press conference, acknowledging that from Oct. 1 to 16, many attempted suicides and attempted self-immolations had occurred near the Tiananmen Square area, indicating the dissatisfaction of the public.

The underground churches in China that had hoped for freedom of belief were widely suppressed. In the last three years, those arrested or imprisoned for religious beliefs have numbered at least several thousand. The unprecedented persecution of Falun Gong has included everything from extreme slander, to the use of various instruments of torture; from the brainwashing of practitioners and detention of Falun Gong followers, to the forced imprisonment of practitioners in jail and even mental hospitals. Thousands were tortured to death, and a 100,000 sentenced to forced labor. In all, tens of millions of people have been affected by the persecution of Falun Gong. Jiang Zemin, the mastermind of the persecution, is currently being sued in over a dozen countries for crimes against humanity, genocide, and torture.

With respect to manipulation of the media, Jiang seriously deprived the people of their right to hear the truth. Reporters did not dare to report real facts, deferring instead to following the will of the Party and reporting all of its lies. If any reporter attempted to report fairly and objectively, he would almost certainly come under attack from the authorities. Among the various countries who imprison reporters, China has the most who are jailed, done so in the name of punishing them for “crimes” such as “revealing state secrets.” Additionally, Jiang’s son, Jiang Mianheng, spent several hundred million U.S. dollars of public funds on “Project Golden Shield.” The goal is to censor the Internet, prevent people from finding out the truth, and keep China behind the world in terms of information exchange. The consequences of this kind of action can be quite serious.

Jiang also arrested many advocates of democracy and people who expressed their opinions freely on the Internet. Before and after the 16th CCP Congress in 2000, while on the one hand releasing democratic movement leaders Xu Wenli and Fang Jue, Jiang at the same time ordered the arrest of other 20 or so democratic movement leaders, including He Depu and Yang Zili. Twenty-year-old female university student Liu Di was one of them, and she was arrested just for writing several articles on the Internet criticizing the government. Not surprisingly, some people have commented, “For every person the Chinese Communist Party releases, 10 more are arrested. They accomplish their goals while looking like they’ve made progress.” This method is used to deceive foreign countries concerned about China’s human rights, and unfortunately many foreign political leaders buy it. Jiang’s administration even used state terrorism to abduct democracy advocates who were outside of China’s borders.

With no right to speak out against the injustices they have suffered, and facing persecution for their beliefs, those from the populace who appeal to the government, such as Falun Gong practitioners, from a certain point of view, do not even have the most basic of rights of survival. It takes a great deal of courage to stand up for one’s dignity in China or to speak out against unjust persecution; the consequences can be dire. The problem is prevalent, even within the Chinese Communist Party’s circle of high-ranking officials. Former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Zhao Ziyang, was under house arrest until his death, but even then people were not allowed to freely mourn him. Under Jiang’s control of the CCP, China has become a cage in which people have no human dignity or freedom of thought. This is the real situation with human rights in 21st century China. Amnesty International has called Jiang Zemin a “human rights scoundrel” for the human rights abuses in China during his administration.

With Jiang’s lies and the allure of investing in China, the international community was half-hearted in dealing with the human rights abuses and persecution, and some even tolerated the Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of people outside of China’s borders. The human rights disaster in China has begun to spread around the world, threatening freedom and democratic values worldwide. Recently, companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Google have been reported on for helping the CCP filter and block politically-sensitive words and phrases including “human rights,” “democracy,” “freedom,” and so on. In the face of such terrible violations of human rights, keeping silent is shameful, but tolerating and even helping a tyrant to do evil is a crime. If this situation progresses, more businesses and governments will be affected and dragged down by the CCP, the consequences of which will be extremely grave.

4. Social Crisis: “Stability” Build Upon a Narrow Edge

Ever-Increasing Number of Socially Vulnerable Groups

The distribution of China’s wealth is growing more and more uneven. During Jiang’s administration, government officials and businessmen colluded with one another, and wealth began to move into the hands of the people in power. Those with authoritative power or personal connections could easily win projects from the government, receive bank loans, and sell state land and factories to get ahead and become wealthy. In 2001, Jiang managed to amend the Constitution by adding a clause that allows capitalists to join the Party, which virtually legalizes the kind of behavior through which wealth is amassed through power. Here, the enclosure of land is taken as an example.

During Jiang’s era, land in cities and towns became the primary target of entrepreneurs. The only way to obtain land in China is through maneuvering between power and money. Real estate buying and selling naturally requires funds, but the Chinese banks have strict rules on private borrowing or lending, so many civilians are deprived of legitimate channels for accessing bank loans. Because of this, a sort of “legal game” between banks and merchants came into being, causing illegal loans to be legalized. Illegal land sales and bank loans have given rise to “red tycoons” [2] one after another.

In sharp contrast to red tycoons, the number of socially vulnerable groups has been on a constant rise. In the past, the workers were declared the masters of the nation, but many of them are laid off now. They are not part of the factories anymore, and neither do they enjoy the benefits and welfare as before. Farmers suffer oppressively from exorbitant taxes and levies. In addition, their lands are enclosed and seized, making it tough for them to make a living. As former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji said, “The farmers are really miserable, the rural areas are really poor, and agriculture is really in danger.” A great many farmers have no way out but to flock to cities to become laborers whose lives are at risk due to hazardous work conditions. Since the 1990s, the number of reported accidents taking place in coal or phosphate mines in mainland China has been more than 300. The number of deaths has exceeded 20,000, which makes up 85 percent of the total deaths worldwide caused by mine blasts. Because of Jiang’s tight control over the Chinese media, it is unknown how many more mine blasts have actually occurred that have not been reported. Moreover, 90 percent of the rural population does not have access to healthcare, and 60 percent of the urban population does not have any medical insurance. Most of these people cannot afford to pay for medical care on their own.

In Jiang’s time, dazzling, modern buildings were built in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, luxurious facilities were set up, lavish lifestyles were led, the fad of sending children abroad at high costs grew, people deposited tens of millions of dollars in overseas banks, and some possessed multiple luxury cars and mansions. However, all of this held true for only a tiny minority of the population—less than 1 percent.

The gap between rich and poor has surpassed that of the “old society,” as the CCP calls it, which existed before 1949 when the CCP took power. In present-day China, over 85 percent of the wealth rests in the hands of 0.2 percent population. In Jiang’s era, the index that measures inequality of income distribution—the Gini Coefficient—jumped from 0.282 in 1991 to 0.46 in 2003, which far exceeded the international benchmark for red alert. In addition, research by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has indicated that China’s urban and rural income disparity is the worst in the world. In 1991, the average net per capita income for urban residents was 1,570 yuan and that for rural residents was 710 yuan. The ratio of these two was about 2.2:1. In 2003, the net per capita income figures were 8,472 yuan and 2,622 yuan, respectively. The ratio between these two increased to 3.2:1. A senior official of the CCP frankly admitted, “The cities develop like Europe, but the countryside develops like Africa.”

According to statistics from the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, in 2003, 30 million people from rural areas did not have sufficient shelter or food. There were 60 million people who were categorized as having a low income. The sum of these two groups is 90 million.

One after another, workers who didn’t succeed in claiming back wages jumped to their deaths from high rises under construction, while a laid-off worker committed suicide by self-immolation at home because he had no money to receive medical treatment. Some senior officials were spending 20,000 yuan on one meal, while some poor children could not even afford to pay a 2,000 yuan registration fee after they were admitted to college. A mother of one such child committed suicide by hanging herself…

The society that Jiang shaped is exactly the kind of “wicked old society” that the CCP used to denounce some 50 years ago.

For over a decade, Jiang’s policy caused the number of socially vulnerable groups to escalate, leaving a huge latent threat to the future development of mainland Chinese society. Although from the city to the country, workers and farmers have tried to simply suppress their anger because they have no outlet, complaints are ubiquitous. This enormous group’s brewing dissatisfaction could lead to larger problems.

Stability Built Upon a Narrow Edge

From only late October to mid November 2000, more than 8,150 cases of marches, demonstrations, and appeals occurred at 155 locations in China. At the same time, in Party or government departments of 21 provinces or municipalities under the direct control of the central government, more than 530 cases of strikes, petitions, and appeals to the State Council Appeals Office occurred. In 2004, according to reports by The New York Times, 60,000 protest demonstrations took place in China.

Oriental Outlook, a weekly run by the Xinhua News Agency, disclosed the following. In 2003, China had 58,000 cases of large-scale social unrest take place in the country. On average, it reached 160 cases per day. Among the cases, there were many attacks on the Party and government organizations. These statistics reveal that cases of social unrest increased by 15 percent in 2003 from 2002. Compared to 10 years ago, it was seven times more. And not only did the frequency of incidents increase drastically, the scale of the protests and levels of violence increased as well.

The methods Jiang Zemin used to “maintain social stability” were: “hold local authorities responsible for whatever happens in their areas” and “nip unstable factors in the bud.” The direct consequence was that local officials from all levels, given such authority over the law, oppressed the populace ruthlessly to ensure that their areas did not show signs of protest, as those would have cried out “instability.” In 2003, since university student Sun Zhigang was not carrying his temporary resident permit, he was arrested by the police of Guangzhou City and sent to the police detention center. Eventually he was beaten to death. This tells a little bit about the methods the Jiang regime used to maintain “stability.”

Ever since Jiang issued orders to suppress Falun Gong, police departments in every area began to have special “petitioner interception” policemen. The duty of the “petitioner interception” police was to intercept appealers’ letters before they were delivered—whether those making appeals were farmers who lost their land, residents whose homes had been demolished, or Falun Gong practitioners—and use other unsavory methods such as beatings, threats, and direct seizure and sending of appellants back to their hometowns for imprisonment, “reeducation,” etc.

Here is an example. Because of infringement on rights and seizure of property by local officials, the displaced residents of Taolinkou Reservoir of Hebei Province appealed several times. A letter that around 10,000 residents of the area signed, titled “The Move to Unseat the Party Chief of Tangshan City, Zhang He, as Delegate to the National People’s Congress and Hebei Provincial People’s Congress,” stated:

On April 1, 2000, on our way to Shijiazhuang City to appeal, more than 100 of us, displaced residents of Yutian County, were seized by a mob of police who treated us as if we were Falun Gong practitioners. Everybody was injured, some had ribs broken, and some had their arms and legs fractured from the beatings. More than 40 people were arrested. Their identification cards are still being held by the Public Security Bureau today. Also, they were not given receipts for fines imposed on them, which amounted to more than 10,000 yuan. Among these people, four of them—Zhang Feng, Liu Su’e, Liu Zengfu, and Chai Runqiu—were sentenced to three to five years in jail for storming government buildings. Zhang Feng, who was sentenced to five years, is currently very sick. He is still serving his sentence in Tangshan City Jidong Prison. Zhang Shuqin, a 63-year-old peasant of Hongqiao Town, was so terrified that she fainted on the spot. A policeman from the Hongqiao Town police station groped the private parts of a 30-year-old female peasant. The Director and Vice Director of the Tangshan City Relocation Office, Li Zengrong and Zhang Zhaorong, embezzled 11.8 million yuan from funds for displaced residents. However, they were sanctioned by Zhang He, and were given a light sentence of five years for their serious crimes. Also, they can be released on bail for medical treatment and get off scot-free.

The letter mentions that supposed enforcers of the law seized and beat the people as if they were Falun Gong practitioners. This in fact happens everywhere. The reason this is happening is that Jiang issued secret orders to police at all levels, saying that “no measures are too excessive to eradicate Falun Gong,” so when guards in the prisons and labor camps torture Falun Gong followers, they say, “We have a death quota!,” implying that it is all right if a few die. So when others are regarded as Falun Gong followers, the police act recklessly toward them.

If those filing appeals think they can achieve their objectives by bypassing attacks and interceptions by the local police, then they are likely wrong. Year in and year out, mobs of petitioner interception police (which are sometimes plainclothes police) form human walls at the entrances of Appeals Offices of the State Council and the National People’s Congress to fend off petitioners.

Because Shanghai resident Ms. Ma Yalian refused to accept forced relocation, she was put into the forced labor system, and she was beaten until both her legs were broken. After that, Ma Yalian was again put into forced labor for one and a half years by the Shanghai police on March 16, 2004, for posting an article in the Internet that exposed all sorts of dark inside stories from her appeal process. From Ma Yalian’s account, we can get a sense for Jiang’s so-called stability, and for the numbers of petitioner interception police that petitioners face:

…petitioner Sun Weiqin of Benxi City of Liaoning Province was walloped to the ground by a gang of appeal interceptors when she went to appeal. Some people shouted for help, but the security guards remained aloof and teased them, saying: “Who’s lying on the ground? Why don’t I see anything?” Sun could not withstand what the police did to her. After the incident, she was so indignant that she took pills to commit suicide, but luckily, she was saved. Because petitioner Li Xiao Ting of Xianyang City, Shaanxi Province, refused to follow the demands of the appeal interceptors when they asked for her identity, a gang of them rushed headlong into and pounded her until she fell to the ground and couldn’t move. Another petitioner, Deng Dianquan, who saw the beating, shouted frantically, “She’s going to be beaten to death!” He pleaded to them sorrowfully, but was immediately thrashed by four appeal interceptors. He was beaten until he was covered with injuries. As a result, he was unable to walk and had to reside temporarily on the sidewalk for several weeks to recuperate. Several Shanghai petitioners, such as Tang Xiazhen, Xu Zhaolan, and Fu Yuxia, were intercepted, kicked, beaten, and scratched in an alley, resulting in long scars on their bodies. Fu, who is thin and small, said that the interceptors grasped her viciously and yanked her so hard as to almost lift her in the air.

It’s been confirmed that the one who beat Li Xiao Ting was a police officer from Heilongjiang Province, and the four brawny men who surrounded and thrashed Deng Dianquan were plainclothes personnel from Henan Province. In fact, the appeal interceptors who gather at the entrance of the State Appeals Office year in year out are supposedly “on official business,” and they are sent by the authorities from the various provinces, capitals and cities. The goal is obviously to stop and threaten petitioners that come there from various areas, and prevent exposure of the many scandals such as corruption, rights violations, forced relocation, etc. The appeal interceptors are under orders from local authorities, and criminal organizations are involved as well; it is a collaboration between government officials and bandits.

Because of the media blockade by the CCP, the pain, suffering, and resistance of the people have been covered up by a peaceful and prosperous façade; CCTV’s 2005 Spring Festival Gala, for example, was about “jubilation” and China’s “flourishing age.” Jiang Zemin’s policies did not aim to treat citizens with fairness; rather, they were a means of forceful suppression. One day, all the instability created by these policies will come to a head, and the Chinese people will have to bear the burden.



[1] “Pyramid of Power Behind Numbers Game.” Financial Times, Feb 28, 2002.
[2] Tycoons in a communist system.

From The Epoch Times

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