Anything for Power: The Real Story of China’s Jiang Zemin—Chapter 6

Anything for Power: The Real Story of China’s Jiang Zemin—Chapter 6
(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 6: Desert Storm Shocks the Old Crook; Jiang Sides With the Left Cautiously (1990–1991)

The war in the Persian Gulf between the United States and Iraq broke out one year after Jiang became General Secretary of the CCP. The victory of the U.S. in Operation Desert Storm prompted Deng Xiaoping to reconsider the direction of China’s development.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, the entire territory of Kuwait was occupied within but a day. Iraq’s invasion triggered acute reactions in the international community. Western countries, led by the U.S., carried out a military action, via a United Nations resolution, to counter Iraq’s invasion. Even though Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein was a good friend of the Chinese Communist Party and Iraq and China had a close relationship, China was isolated from the international community at the time and didn’t want to offend western countries by supporting Saddam Hussein.

Jiang Zemin had become General Secretary because of his participation in the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre against the students. His nicknames “Kericon” and “braggart Jiang” bespoke of his lack of competence on matters beyond sweet-talking, showing-off, and reporting on others behind their backs. The Gulf War was a real test to examine what difficulties Jiang could resolve.

Facing a challenge as major as this, Jiang panicked and knew not what to do. He began to sense then and there that holding the position of General Secretary wasn’t always enjoyable. At that time Western countries had imposed economic sanctions over the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and China had little international support. To escape from the diplomatic quandary, Deng Xiaoping set forth the basic principles of China’s position on the war, which were, in effect, “To shut up and stay hands-off.” Thanks to Deng’s order, Jiang didn’t need to make a decision. China subsequently abstained from the UN vote on the Gulf War.

1. Operation Desert Storm

On Jan. 17, 1991, UN troops led by U.S. military forces launched “Operation Desert Storm” against Iraq. Within weeks, Saddam Hussein’s troops suffered heavy casualties and completely lost the power to fight back. Iraq was forced to accept all 12 of the resolutions that the United Nations had passed since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The multi-national UN forces called for a cease-fire at midnight on Feb. 28, marking the end of the 42-day Gulf War.

During the war, China’s newspapers, which were, and are, tightly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, covered extensively strategic analyses stating that Saddam had a good chance for the reason that he was “on the side of the people,” and that the guerilla warfare would be prolonged. Some even predicted that the U.S. troops would be trapped in Iraq, similar to what happened during the Vietnam War. To China’s surprise, the multi-national forces led by the U.S. coordinated their satellite, aerial, and naval technologies to enable a three-pronged, joint assault. The advanced weaponry and precise coordination amazed the world.

U.S. intelligence units deployed aerospace communication satellites, civilian-use satellites, and remote sensing satellites for spectral analysis to monitor and decode Iraq’s military information and to take infrared photos from high altitudes. The collected data were then processed in supercomputers to fully reveal Iraq’s military capacity. The United States also began sending powerful electronic interference waves six hours before they launched the attack so as to paralyze Iraq’s command system. What showed up on Iraq’s radar screens were flakes and spots. U.S. stealth fighters filled the sky with chaff to create illusive warplane traces on Iraq’s radar screens, leading Saddam’s SAM-6 surface-to-air missiles to attack “phantoms.” Iraqi military forces were quickly rendered deaf and blind.

The victories of U.S. forces with minimum casualties taught Deng Xiaoping a lot and shocked the highest echelon of the CCP. Public outcry also followed, calling for China to arm its military with high-tech weapons. Jiang Zemin, who had no military experience, was at a loss and didn’t know how to respond.

Jiang was terrified, in fact. His knowledge of the military strengths of the United States and China was out of touch with the times; his knowledge was more that of the Korean and Vietnam wars.

He recalled Richard Nixon’s book, 1999: Victory Without War (published in 1988). Jiang thought that Communist China had fallen far behind the United States in terms of both morale and military strength. With the drastic regime changes in Eastern Europe, the Cold War was approaching an end. The wave of democracy had been moving eastward and would soon reach China, with only the Soviet Union in between. In the face of heavy pressure to democratize, the red empire led by Gorbachev looked prone to collapse at any moment. If the United States continued its Cold War strategies or carried out military attacks, with its much-admired political and economic systems and advanced weaponry, China’s one-party autocracy would be toppled.

Jiang felt helpless when dwelling upon the world’s state of affairs. He had a message sent to his son Jiang Mianheng, who was studying in the United States, that there was no need to rush his studies in order to graduate. He told his son to find a job and stay in the U.S. for several more years. That was in part because Jiang’s position in China’s central government was not fully cemented at that time, and partly because he had no confidence in the future of the Chinese Communist Party.

2. Fawning on the Soviet Union

From the time of the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989 on, the United States, which led the world in system engineering and integration, imposed an arms embargo on China; China had little experience in system engineering and integration. However, it was not hard for China to recruit experts in the field. For example, Russia’s languid economy allowed China opportunities to lure Russian professionals by means of hard currency. Approximately 1,500 Russian scientists and technicians started working as consultants for China’s military in the 1990s.

Under the watchful eye of Deng Xiaoping and Yang Shangkun, Jiang Zemin, despite being a layman in military affairs, had to demonstrate competency as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. He announced plans to purchase high performance, state-of-the-art weaponry systems from Russia. Although China spent huge sums of money to acquire them, all of her acquisitions proved to be obsolete weapons discharged by the former Soviet Union, or weapons that performed poorly and that Russia was clearing out. The warplanes received from Russia failed frequently. After the CCP started its purchase of Soviet-built warplanes (including Su-27s and Su-30s), in the years between 1997 and 2001 no less than five accidents were reported.

Russia’s aircraft carrier Kiev was built in 1975 and retired from active duty in 1994. Jiang Zemin bought it and welcomed it into Tianjin Harbor in September 2000 as an invaluable treasure. Sources said China spent two years negotiating the purchase and borrowed 70 million yuan (US$8.4 million) to finance the retired carrier. The experts thought that they could obtain technical information by examining the Kiev. However, they realized that Russia had stripped it of everything worth learning from. There was an outcry in the military over their being fooled, and they filed complaints to Deng and Yang. Jiang Zemin, who was in charge of the clumsy deal, grew even more nervous than Deng and Yang. The chairmanship of the Central Military Commission was a tough job for Jiang. Jiang himself once described it as “treading on thin ice.”

The Soviet Union’s economy was sluggish at the time. It was using military force to suppress people in its various states, and it faced serious problems domestically and internationally. To upgrade its military equipment and show support for the Soviet communist regime, China in October 1990 decided to pursue military cooperation with the Soviet Union and purchase a batch of new warplanes from the Soviet Union. On Jan. 25, 1991, the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters that Jiang would make a state visit to the Soviet Union in May of the same year. Jiang became the highest Chinese government official to visit the Soviet Union since Mao Zedong attended the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the “October Revolution” in Moscow in 1957.

When Jiang was in the Soviet Union in 1991, Yeltsin, an important political figure for the reformists, requested to meet Jiang but was turned down. Instead, Jiang met with the Soviet Union’s Vice President, Gennady Yanayev, who was against the program of reforms, and told Yanayev that he hoped the Soviet Union would go back in the direction of socialism. This event clearly reflected Jiang’s Leftist stance against reform. Three months later, Yanayev played a key role in the attempted political coup that put Gorbachev under house arrest. The coup, intended to reverse the reform and restore Moscow’s centralized control of the republics, failed after three days.

To strengthen relations with the Soviet Union and solidify his political power, Jiang tried to please the Soviet Union (and later Russia) at all costs. He was totally negligent when it came to the boundary dispute between China and Russia, and agreed to the Russian proposal to survey the border. By way of the KGB’s meticulous arrangements, Jiang’s ex-lover showed up. Jiang knew, seeing this, that the KGB had information on all of his activities in the past, and so he obediently yielded to Russia’s terms. As a result, disputed territory 40 times the size of Taiwan was secretly ceded to Russia.

3. Underestimating Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping had a tremendous sense of urgency when it came to expanding economic reform, invigorating the market, and using the economy to contend with the United States. The few Special Economic Zones that had been established in China could not alone achieve these goals. China had to reform its economy and open up fully. Jiang Zemin—who held powerful political positions—had a different view, however. Having put forth so much effort to climb the political ladder, Jiang surely would not back down. A more open society and economy would simply make people harder to control, he thought. Jiang had an inflated sense of self importance, as he held the highest position in the government, and thus greatly underestimated Deng’s political strength. After Jiang assumed power he made an infamous remark that was intended to undermine Deng. Jiang said, “We should make private entrepreneurs and self-employed people go bankrupt.” (Ironically, when Jiang’s family became one of the most wealthy and corrupt in China, Jiang’s policy changed to, “Let capitalists join the Party.”)

Deng began to regret having listened to Chen Yun and Li Xiannian in hastily choosing Jiang to be General Secretary. In the spring of 1990, Deng went to Shanghai to meet with its mayor, Zhu Rongji, and sized him up. He felt Zhu was a man of extraordinary talent among the CCP’s high-ranking officials and somebody who understood economic affairs. He had the courage and spirit to do solid work, in stark contrast to Jiang, who was largely an empty shell. Jiang’s spies in Shanghai told Jiang about Deng’s activities. Jiang was seized with jealousy.

Jiang’s jealousy actually came out of his lack of integrity and competence, and fear that other capable people would threaten his power. Although it appeared as though Jiang had great power, many inside and outside the CCP didn’t think highly of him and considered him an opportunist. They regarded Jiang’s reign as merely a transitional period. Jiang knew very well that his position in the Party was not cemented. In terms of experience, talent, and personal connections, he was far behind. Jiang’s paranoia over power turned into intense jealousy. He considered everyone with more talent, experience, and personal connections than him a potential threat.

In February 1991, Deng Xiaoping left Beijing for Shanghai to celebrate the Chinese New Year. On the eve of his departure, Deng said unambiguously, “Nobody listens to me in Beijing anymore. I have to go to Shanghai.” On the trip, Deng told Zhu Rongji that he wanted to appoint Zhu to work in the State Council. Deng asked Yang Shangkun to call in the Shanghai Municipal CCP Committee and Shanghai City government leaders to convey the “decision by the CCP Central Committee.”

Before the Chinese New Year in 1991, Deng Xiaoping made a speech in Shanghai, insisting on reforms and a market economy. Drawing from the key points of Deng Xiaoping’s speech, Zhou Ruijin, principal of the army newspaper Liberation Daily, wrote four articles, including “Taking the Lead in Reform and Opening-up,” “Reform Takes Creative Thinking,” “Strengthen the Concept of Expanding Reforms” and “Reforms Need a Large Number of Cadres with Ability and Integrity.” Zhou used the penname of Huangpu Ping. These articles were published in Liberation Daily on Chinese New Year’s Day in 1991. The boss behind the scenes was none other than Deng Xiaoping.

On all these matters, Deng neither notified nor purposely kept things secret from Jiang. Deng outright and completely excluded Jiang in his considerations.

These articles that promoted economic reforms championed by Deng and directly supervised by Zhu Rongji aroused Jiang’s jealousy and resistance. He not only kept silent about the new push for reforms, but also instigated the Leftists in the CCP in Beijing to attack and criticize the articles. He also dispatched staff to monitor Deng’s speeches and activities in Shanghai. Jiang himself was busy lobbying senior CCP members in Beijing who could constrain Deng.

On April 12, 1991, at the 4th Session of the 7th National People’s Congress, Deng Xiaoping prevailed and he formally appointed Zhu Rongji, then Mayor of Shanghai, as Vice-Premier of the State Council. In order to show his support for Zhu, Deng took Zhu with him to inspect the Capital Iron and Steel Corporation. Deng praised Zhu in earnest in the presence of both Zhu and others, saying, “There are not many high-level cadres who really understand economics in our Party. Comrades like Zhu Rongji, who know economics well, should be promoted to higher positions.” Deng’s praise for Zhu made Jiang Zemin, who is narrow and unforgiving, grow panicked and even more jealous. After that, Jiang frequently asked his trusted subordinates to collect information and materials so as to suppress, exclude, and attack Zhu, no matter whether Zhu had anything to do with the matter. Jiang and his narrowness did Zhu much injustice.

Deng learned of Jiang’s veiled opposition to him and became quite dissatisfied with Jiang. Qiao Shi, a Politburo Standing Committee member, and Tian Jiyun, one of the Vice-Premiers of the State Council, made many speeches in support of Deng’s reforms. Deng said, “It has been a long time since I heard excellent speeches like these.” Deng’s favorable remarks allowed the seeds of hatred of Qiao Shi and Tian Jiyun to be sown in Jiang. Driven by acute dissatisfaction with and disappointment over conservatives like Jiang, Deng talked with Yang Shangkun, Wan Li, and Qiao Shi about reinstating Zhao Ziyang, reorganizing the CCP’s central leadership at the CCP’s 14th National Congress in 2002, and dismissing Jiang Zemin. The news shocked Jiang.

4. Collapse of the Soviet Union Causes Panic

In June 1991, Deng Xiaoping reinstated the political power of Hu Qili, Yan Mingfu, and Rui Xingwen—all former subordinates of Zhao Ziyang. Hu was appointed Deputy Minister for the Ministry of the Mechanical and Electronics Industry and a member of the CCP Committee of the same ministry. Rui became Deputy Director of the State Development Planning Commission, and Yan became Deputy Minister of Civil Affairs. Through these arrangements, Deng was paving the way to reinstate Zhao.

A few months later, at the end of 1991, the Soviet Union despite all appearances of being strong collapsed in a matter of days. This brought about dramatic changes in the state of the world. The disintegration of the Soviet Union dealt a strong blow to the CCP and shook its confidence. The CCP was in extreme panic, knowing that even a party as strong as the Soviet Communist Party could one day collapse in turn. The CCP used to say, “The Soviet Union’s today is our tomorrow.” With the Soviet Union disintegrating, the CCP began wondering about its own future.

The CCP has often described “U.S. imperialism” and the regime’s political opponents as “paper tigers.” [1] Yet looking back at the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, it was not hard for the CCP to see that the communist parties there were true paper tigers. The supporters of the dictatorship scattered once the regime collapsed. Communism in Eastern Europe was coming to an end. Telltale events included the tearing-down of the Berlin Wall, the success of the Polish Solidarity Movement, the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, the completion of transition to democracy in Hungary, the overthrow and execution of the Romanian dictator Ceausescu, and the first national election in Bulgaria. Overthrowing the Communist dictatorship took 10 years in Poland, 10 months in Hungary, 10 weeks in Germany, 10 days in Czechoslovakia and 10 hours in Romania.

The successive collapse of the communist powers made Jiang Zemin extremely anxious and uneasy.

On July 1, 1991, Jiang abandoned Deng’s policy of focusing on economic development in his speech commemorating the 70th anniversary of the CCP. He vigorously promoted “focusing on efforts against peaceful revolution” so as to alert people to the dangers of losing political control [due to peaceful reform]. He emphasized “clearly distinguishing between two kinds of perspectives on reform,” namely, one “based on the Four Fundamental Principles” [2] and the other “based on capitalism promoted by bourgeois liberalization.” Jiang also declared that in terms of theory, “A struggle exists between the different approaches to the reform and opening-up policy.” The remarks were meant as veiled criticism of Huangpu Ping in Shanghai as well as, in fact, Zhu Rongji and his supporter Deng Xiaoping. Jiang’s speech, which was anti-reform, received warm applause from the Leftist camp. The next day, Zhu Rongji, now under tremendous pressure, was dispatched to inspect the rainstorm disaster in Hubei Province while Jiang, back in Beijing, instigated the Leftists there to commence a round of sweeping criticism aimed at Zhu.

Little did Jiang realize it was the CCP’s tight political control and underdeveloped economic policies that were causing problems with reform. Jiang instead attributed the problem to the policy of reform and opening-up. He was attempting to forward an obsolete strategy.

In Robert Kuhn’s biography of Jiang, Jiang’s contributions to China’s reform are wantonly exaggerated. It claims, one could say, that Jiang’s contributions recreated China. His praise is actually baseless in that Jiang has been extremely conservative and was against the reforms from the outset. However, many not privileged to the inside story, especially non-Chinese, have been fooled by Jiang’s gift of gab and knack for quickly changing positions according to the situation.

Although Jiang was later, due to circumstances beyond his control, forced to support the reforms, he has—to this day—consistently kept tight control over information and thought. Jiang is extremely hostile to freedom of thought, and has labeled political dissidents as “unpatriotic.” As Kuhn wrote, “Regarding dissident Chinese students working with foreign media, he had only contempt, ‘I wonder,’ he said, ‘whether the blood of the Chinese nation still flowes in their veins?'” [3] How absurd. If those persons, such as dissidents, who are concerned about the fate of the nation are not patriots, then who is? Could someone like Jiang—who gave away land gratuitously to Russia and worked with foreign aggressors—instead be considered a patriot?

5. Flattering Li Peng and the Military

In the earlier years, Jiang Zemin’s position inside the CCP was not very secure. Not only did he have to confront pressure from senior Rightist and Leftist leaders in the Party, he also had to face the general public’s dissatisfaction over the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Meanwhile, China’s foreign relations were on the rocks. Many countries called back their ambassadors. Trade and arms embargoes hit China’s economy hard.

Premier Li Peng was originally Jiang’s immediate superior, but when Jiang was made General Secretary Li became Jiang’s subordinate. It was somewhat awkward for both. At Politburo meetings Jiang always sat next to Li and they hosted the meetings together. Jiang often made decisions based on Li’s facial expressions. So outsiders called it the “Jiang-Li system.” In order to solidify his position inside the Party, Jiang thought he needed to get on Li’s good side. Since Li used to serve as Minister of Water Resources, on Jiang’s first national tour he visited the Three Gorges Project, something Li had enthusiastically promoted. Moreover, Jiang actively lobbied for the project and forced the National People’s Congress to approve its preliminary plans.

Jiang’s efforts to butter up Li were downright blatant. The CCP and Jiang often talk about science, but this time they left the most authoritative experts by the wayside. Ignoring potential problems that the Three Gorges Project might cause with respect to navigation, generation of electricity, relocation of residents, the ecosystem, the environment, and war preparedness, Jiang left decision-making surrounding this massive engineering project to those in the People’s Congress who would simply rubber stamp it. This, despite the fact that these were people—being things like actors and actresses, “model workers,” and token minority representatives—ignorant of the science and planning entailed. Those outside of political circles saw the move as ridiculous. The sole purpose of what Jiang did was to please Li.

Despite his lack of integrity, lack of competence, and lack of military experience, Jiang was appointed Chairman of the Central Military Commission in November 1989. How would senior military officials be willing to take orders from a man who had never so much as touched a gun? At the time, Jiang didn’t dare to promote generals to strengthen their allegiance to him, as Deng Xiaoping had done. He did not have a group of supporters in the army, either (unlike Deng). Thus, to please the military Jiang allocated a great amount of funds to purchase obsolete weaponry from the Soviet Union. And recalling what he had learned from his father about propaganda, he ordered that movies glorifying the People’s Liberation Army be made. Jiang figured that the movies would gain him the military’s favor while simultaneously brainwashing people who hated the PLA for its role in the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Jiang himself wrote the calligraphy for the titles of the films, one of which included a costly three-part war film, Decisive Battles.

During the shooting of the film Jiang discovered something. A director by the name of Li produced a movie called Founding Ceremony. Instead of following the typical CCP approach of depicting Chiang Kai-Shek as a villain, the director portrayed Chiang as a real person. On these grounds the movie examiners censored the film. They asked the director to depict Chiang Kai-Shek as a stupid and violent person. The director refused.

Politburo member Li Ruihuan, who is an open-minded person, heard about this and invited Jiang to watch the movie with him. Jiang was very curious about certain shots in the movie because they looked as though they had been taken from actual documentaries that would have been hard to obtain. Jiang asked the director where the shots came from. The director said the shots were not acquired from anywhere, but were instead filmed recently. They looked like a historical documentary because they underwent a special treatment. Jiang was intrigued. After the movie, he commented, “The real and the fake were fused so well that even I was confused.”

Of course, the application of such a technique in film production is not uncommon. Jiang was pleased, however, that he had learned about an important technique that could be used in deceptive propaganda.

6. Deng Xiaoping Fights Back

“Huangpu Ping” (a pen name) from Shanghai, which was actually just Deng Xiaoping at work behind the scenes, published an article, titled “Discussions on the Morale of Cadres,” in the Liberation Daily on Aug. 31, 1991. The author stated that lack of confidence in the economic reforms was the most terrible thing and that CCP cadres must liberate their thoughts. Then on Sept. 1, the China National Radio broadcast an editorial, titled “Everything Should Be for Reform and Opening-Up.” It was drafted by Li Deming, Deputy Chief Editor of the People’s Daily, and by a senior editor associated with the Theoretical Department of the newspaper. Its purpose was to oppose Deng Xiaoping. After being looked over by Li Ruihuan, then a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo and in charge of ideological affairs, the article was amended by Gao Di, director of the People’s Daily. Gao added a paragraph stressing the distinction between socialist and capitalist economic reforms, and further criticized “Huangpu Ping.” At Deng Xiaoping’s instruction, Li Ruihuan had the paragraph removed, however, before the editorial was published the next day. About the incident, Deng remarked resentfully, “The People’s Daily is trying to criticize Deng Xiaoping completely.” From that time on Deng had deep distrust towards Jiang Zemin. [4]

By the end of 1991 Deng had grown outraged by Jiang’s behavior. Not only had he completely lost confidence in the so-called “core of the Third Generation leadership—Jiang Zemin—he could no longer tolerate Jiang. Although Deng Xiaoping didn’t have an official military title, he controlled the military, despite Jiang’s being its Chairman. His closest old friend Yang Shangkun and his entrusted subordinate Yang Baibing had charge of it. Yang Shangkun and Deng Xiaoping met in 1932 and had been friends for 60 years. Yang Baibing’s military rank as General was personally given to him by Deng in September 1988. Yang Baibing had been loyally executing Deng Xiaoping’s political plans with the military. Another Deputy Chairman of the Central Military Commission alongside Yang Shangkun was Liu Huaqing. He was Deng’s long-time subordinate and had similarly been loyal to Deng.

Deng Xiaoping realized the “core of the Third Generation leadership”—Jiang Zemin, somebody who was mediocre, weak, incompetent, jealous, conservative, and stubborn—was trying to block the economic reform and opening-up. Deng thus made up his mind to deal a final blow using his military power. He planned to replace, at the 14th CCP Congress, those such as Jiang Zemin who were against the reforms with those who were firmly for reform. Deng planned to replace Jiang with Qiao Shi as General Secretary of the CCP. He also planned to have Qiao appointed President and Chairman of the Central Military Commission at the 1st Session of the 8th National People’s Congress. Deng also planned to replace Li Peng with either Li Ruihuan or Zhu Rongji as Premier. Wan Li would continue to chair the National People’s Congress. He also planned to have Yang Shangkun retire from the national chairman post and completely dissolve the CCP’s Central Advisory Committee, which was more or less controlled by Chen Yun.

Deng consulted with Yang Shangkun and Wan Li about his plans. In the meantime Deng praised Qiao Shi for the public speeches he had given in various provinces, in effect expressing support of Qiao. Jiang Zemin grew jealous of Qiao and regarded him as his main adversary. Thus it was that upon Deng’s passing Jiang forced Qiao Shi to retire under the pretext of a designated age limit.

Deng had also planned to reinstate Zhao Zhiyang, who was under house arrest, and make him Chairman of the National Political Consultative Conference. Deng never doubted Zhao’s support of reform. The only obstacle was that Deng and Zhao had diverging opinions on how to handle the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Zhao’s persistent refusal to acknowledge his own mistakes made during the time period leading up to the massacre irked Deng. Deng sent a messenger to Zhao asking him to admit to his mistakes, the intention being to prevent Zhao from overturning the verdict against him in the future. The messenger returned and told Deng that Zhao had insisted he hadn’t made any mistakes and wouldn’t write any form of self-criticism. Zhao had said to the messenger, “Why do I choose not to criticize myself after stepping down, you ask? Well, because I choose not to… because I think I made no ‘mistakes’ in the matter. Why should I criticize myself? As soon as I start criticizing myself, there will be no way to make that fact clear.” Deng had mixed feelings about Zhao’s remarks, and he fell silent for a long while.



[1] A Chinese expression for something that appears threatening in form, but is not in substance.
[2] The Four Fundamental Principles were established by Deng in 1979 as overarching principles of the CCP that were not subject to debate. They are: (1) the principle of upholding the socialist path, (2) the principle of upholding the people’s democratic dictatorship, (3) the principle of upholding the leadership of the CCP, and (4) the principle of upholding Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong thought.
[3] Robert Lawrence Kuhn, The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin (New York: Crown, 2004), 190.
[4] The People’s Daily is implicitly controlled by the CCP’s paramount leader, who was Jiang Zemin at the time.

From The Epoch Times

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