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Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin (born August 17, 1926) (江澤民) is a Chinese politician and statesman. Regarded as the "core of the third generation" of Chinese Communist leaders, his theory of the Three Represents has been written into the party's constitution.

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Background

Jiang was a member of the Communist student underground, achieving party membership in 1946, and graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University. A mechanical engineer, Jiang received his training at the Stalin Automobile Works in Moscow in the 1950s. Considered very urbane and worldly for a Chinese Communist leader, the former Ambassador to Romania and Mayor of Shanghai, China’s most cosmopolitan city, is fluent in Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Romanian, French and English.

Ascendancy

Jiang was a compromise candidate chosen by Deng Xiaoping, Li Peng, Chen Yun[?], and the retired elders on March 27, 1993 to replace the more liberal Zhao Ziyang, who was considered too conciliatory to student protestors. Although not directly involved with the crackdown, he was elevated to central party positions after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 for his role in averting similar protests in Shanghai.

At the 16th Party Congress, the then 76-year-old Jiang was reelected Chairman of the Central Military Commission. At the 16th Party Congress in 2002, Hu Jintao assumed Jiang's title as party chief, becoming the new General Secretary of the Communist Party. Hu succeeded Jiang as President of the People's Republic of China on March 15, 2003.

16th Party Congress

Although Jiang stepped down from this all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China to make way for a younger “fourth generation” of leadership led by Hu Jintao, Jiang will probably continue to wield significant influence. Six out of the nine new members of the all-powerful Standing Committee, Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju, Wu Guanzheng[?], and Li Changchun[?] are linked to Jiang’s “Shanghai Clique” and considered his “protégés”. The 22-member Politburo is elected by the Party’s central committee. Real power in Communist China lies with this committee, which works as a kind of inner cabinet and groups together the country’s most influential leaders. At the 2002 16th Party Congress, the Standing Committee was expanded to include nine members.

Jiang's achievements

Once derided as a "flower vase" compromise candidate anointed by the elders, Jiang has emerged as the leading Chinese Communist cadre and Deng’s replacement. Under his tutelage, China has sustained an average of 8% GDP growth annually, achieving one of the world’s highest rate of per capita economic growth, if not the highest. This was mostly achieved by continuing the process of a de-facto transition to a market economy with strong Party control remaining. Jiang’s legacy is also cemented by China’s successful bids to join the World Trade Organization and host the 2008 Summer Olympics. Jiang's Three Represents was also written into the Party's constitution, along with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and Deng Xiaoping Theory at the 2002 16th Party Congress.

Jiang acted to maintain the Communist Party's strong control over the vast country, which the party has cited as necessary to maintain order and stability in the vast, rapidly changing country. Since 1999, the state has campaigned against the Falun Gong movement, arresting leaders and breaking up demonstrations, despite protests by human rights groups.

See also: Politics of China

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