Image credit: @anpuruo.
Despite being declared dead by Hong Kong’s ATV last year, former Paramount Leader Jiang Zemin has been spotted a 150-minute musical performance at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, according to the Globe and Mail.
Jiang, despite stepping down as General Secretary of the CPC in 2002 (and retiring from the last of his many, many positions in 2008) remains a force to be reckoned with inside the Communist Party. Jiang’s faction within the party is seen as more conservative about political and economic reforms than President Hu Jintao or his expected successor, Xi Jinping.
Mr. Jiang had no choice in naming his own successor when he stepped aside, since the late Deng Xiaoping had already named Mr. Hu as the head of what’s known as the “fourth generation” of Communist leaders. Now Mr. Jiang is seen as trying to achieve the same by forcing Mr. Hu to accept his own protégés on the fifth generation Standing Committee. There have even been reports that he took the extraordinary step of coming out of retirement to attend a recent meeting of the larger 24-person Politburo.
Mr. Jiang and his allies were already successful five years ago in blocking Mr. Hu from installing his own protégé, Li Keqiang, as the next paramount leader. The two factions compromised on Vice-President Xi Jinping – who will become general-secretary of the Communist Party in November and president next spring – and Mr. Li was given the lesser post of premier.
The extent of Jiang’s influence should not be overestimated. Bo Xilai was a former protégé of Jiang, and yet the former leader was unable to shield Bo from prosecution after his dramatic fall from grace this year.