Jiang Zemin --
Jiang Zemin was re-elected General Secretary ofthe Communist Party of China (CPC) at the First Plenary Session of the15th CPC Central Committee here today following the last CPC National Congressin this century.
His re-election as head of the world's largestruling party with 58 million members is viewed as the measure of the confidenceof the Chinese people he enjoys.
Over the past eight years when Jiang served asthe top leader of the Party, China has been in a period featuring "moststable political situation, the strongest national strength, the most activediplomatic activities and the most remarkable improvement in the people'slife," said a local analyst.
Overseas press commented that the prestige ofCPC's third generation leadership is just the kind of prestige that couldbe expected from a country where economy has registered double-digits growthfor more than a decade.
Jiang officially took over the post of Party GeneralSecretary in June, 1989 when China faced great difficulties, politically,economically and diplomatically.
In just two years, Jiang succeeded in bringingabout big changes in the situation. The GNP grew steadily at an averageannual rate of 12.1 percent, the fastest in the world.
Jiang was elected President of the People's Republicof China in March 1993 and continued to serve for another term as Chairmanof the Central Military Commission. His status as the core of the leadershipis attributable to his outstanding achievements, ability and a steady anddown-to-earth style of work.
Born on August 17, 1926, of an intellectual familyin Yangzhou, a culturally famous city in east China's Jiangsu Province,Jiang received his higher education in the prestigious Shanghai JiaotongUniversity and his major was electrical engineering.
Both his grandfather and father were noted localscholars.
During his college years, Jiang participated inthe CPC-led students movements and joined the Communist Party of Chinain 1946.
After the founding of New China, Jiang servedas associate engineer, deputy director of a factory, section head of anenterprise. In 1955, He went to the then Soviet Union and worked in theStalin Automobile Works as a trainee for one year. After his return home,he served as deputy division head, deputy chief power engineer, directorof a branch factory, and deputy director, director of factories and researchinstitutes in Changchun, Shanghai and Wuhan.
In the ensuing years, Jiang served as deputy,then director of foreign affairs department of the No. 1 Ministry of Machine-BuildingIndustry. He speaks good English, Russian and Romanian, and knows someJapanese and French.
Before he became Shanghai Mayor in 1985, Jiangserved as minister of Electronics Industry.
His unique career experiences have enabled himto observe and solve problems from the perspectives of profound relationsbetween China and the world.
Jiang was the first planner of Shenzhen, China'sfirst special economic zone (SEZ). In 1979 when the late Chinese leaderDeng Xiaoping proposed to build SEZs in China, Jiang was the first to settleconcrete matters in Shenzhen on behalf of the central government. He wasthen serving as deputy director and concurrently secretary general of theState Import and Export Administration and the State Foreign InvestmentAdministration. Facing the wilderness, Jiang put forward his guiding ideasthat had a far-reaching effect on Shenzhen's construction in the followingyears. "All construction projects in the SEZ should be started froma long-term point of view and in line with international standards."The development of Shenzhen over the past 10 years and more has testifiedto the correctness of his ideas.
Soon after Jiang became Shanghai mayor in 1985,he planned a series of key infrastructure projects using overseas capitals.The city raised 3.2 billion US dollars from international capital market,of which 1.4 billion dollars were poured into such key projects as thecity's subway, Nanpu Bridge, polluted water treatment, airport expansionand program-controlled telephone exchanges. People are stunned by the profoundchanges that have taken place in Shanghai.
Jiang was elected member of the 12th CPC CentralCommittee in September of 1982. In November, 1987, Jiang was elected memberof the Political Bureau at the First Plenary Session of the 13th CPC CentralCommittee. He was elected member of the Standing Committee of the PoliticalBureau in June of 1989 at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 13th CentralCommittee, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. Five monthslater, he was elected chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission atthe Fifth Plenary Session of the 13th Central Committee. At the Third Sessionof the Seventh National People's Congress, he was elected chairman of theCentral Military Commission of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Atthe first Plenary Session of the 14th Central Committee, he was re-electedmember of its Central Committee, member of the Political Bureau, memberof its Standing Committee, general secretary of CPC's Central Committeeand at the Eighth National People's Congress held in March, 1993, he waselected president of the PRC and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
During the past eight years, what he always putshigh on his agenda is grain, cotton, edible oil and vegetable productionand supply, all closely related to the people's daily life. "Any reformshould benefit the majority of the people and it should be carried outwithin the capacity of the people to bear upon," he often said. Thanksto the implementation of these principles, the thorny reforms of the country'spublic finance, taxation, monetary and investment systems have been goingon smoothly without sharp fluctuations.
Over the past eight years, Jiang toured almostall provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities except Taiwan. Whathe is concerned with most is the life of the people in poor and remoteareas where ethnic groups live. He initiated the ambitious anti-povertycampaign in 1992, vowing to eradicate poverty before the end of the century.Thanks to the intensified efforts, China's population under the povertyline has been reduced from 80 million to 58 million by 1996.
Jiang loves to make friends with intellectuals.He has many good friends in economic, scientific, art and press circles.Some friends called him a "scholar statesman." Early in 1987when he was still Shanghai mayor, he initialed a bi-monthly seminar withscholars in the theoretical circle in Shanghai. Each time he would raisea hot or sensitive or difficult issue for the experts and scholars he invitedto discuss.
Jiang stresses national self-esteem, self-confidence,national dignity and the cohesion of the Chinese nation. Jiang is highlyaccomplished in classic Chinese literature and often quotes ancient poemsoff-hand. Jiang has a wide range of interest and plays piano and erhu,a two-string traditional Chinese musical instrument. In his spare time,he may indulge himself in the music of Mozart and Beethoven. In his eyes,the Chinese and Western cultures are "communicable."
Jiang loves reading and devotes most of his sparetime to reading the latest science books. He also loves to read Mark Twain.Sources close to him said Jiang could recite the monologue of "Tobe or not to be" in Hamlet and "Ode to the West Wind" byShelley. In his last official tour of Russia, his analysis of the literarymasterpieces by Leo Tolstoy and other Russian authors surprised the Russianguides.
Wang Yeping, his wife, graduated from the ShanghaiForeign Languages Institute and used to be head of an electrical engineeringresearch institute in Shanghai. Now she has retired. The couple have twosons. Jiang Mianheng, the eldest, obtained his doctor's degree in electronicengineering in the United States. After returning to Shanghai, he has beenappointed director of the Shanghai Metallurgical Research Institute. Theiryounger son, Jiang Miankang, studied in Germany for a while after finishingShanghai No. 2 University of Engineering. Now he is a researcher of softwareat the Shanghai Underground Pipeline Information System.