Former Chinese regime leader/dictator Jiang Zemin was absent from the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) 90th anniversary celebrations. Some commentators said that Jiang’s absence from this major event is very unusual and likely due to serious health problems, and this could affect the Party’s 2012 leadership reshuffle.
During the July 1 celebration of the CCP’s 90th anniversary in the Great Hall in Beijing, all nine current members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the CCP, and several former members, including Li Peng, Zhu Rongji and Song Ping, were seen on CCTV’s live coverage, but not Jiang Zemin, who used to make frequent public appearances.
Rumors abound that Jiang has health problems, a person with insider information told Radio Free Asia. His absence at this crucial moment makes people question whether he is able to maneuver through the CCP’s leadership transition in 2012, the insider said.
On June 27, Taiwan’s United Daily News and its cousin in the United States, World Journal, quoted an article from ifeng.com, a Hong-Kong based Chinese media hosted by Phoenix New Media, saying that Jiang was very seriously ill and that his health was ever-worsening, given his advanced age.
The alleged source of the statement was said to be “an insider that is very close to high officials of the CCP.”
However, after the article was quoted by United Daily and World Journal, it was removed from ifeng.com.
In recent years Jiang has made appearances representing the Party and country at many important events, including the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and the National Day parade on the 60th anniversary of the CCP’s rule in 2009.
Jiang’s last official public appearance was in November 2009 at a memorial service for Qian Xuesen, the scientist who is regarded by Chinese as the father of China’s space program.
Before the opening of the World Expo in Shanghai, someone captured photos of Jiang touring Shanghai in a minibus on April 4, 2010. Jiang was seen sticking his head out the window and waving at the crowd. It was Jiang’s last public appearance caught on camera.
Rumors about Jiang’s health started this year. Last month some Chinese websites published articles suggesting that Jiang was critically ill and had been hospitalized for emergency treatment at the 301 Military Hospital. Some even said he had died. But none of this has officially been confirmed.
Given Jiang’s showoff personality, there are only two possible reasons for his absence this time, Beifeng, a senior media worker in China told Hong Kong’s Apple Daily. “One is serious illness or death, and the other is that he has lost his influence.”
Jiang’s absence from an important event such as the CCP’ 90th anniversary is very unusual, commentator Johnny Y.S. Lau told Hong Kong’s Ming Pao. Lau said if Jiang has serious health problems, his influence over personnel arrangements for the 18th Party Congress will decrease, and the CCP’s future transfer of power will be affected.
Jiang Zemin is China’s most recent former head of state. This position comprises three separate titles: Party chairman (General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CCP), president (Premier of the State Council), and commander in chief (Chairman of the Central Military Commission).
Jiang is most infamously known for having ordered the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation and exercise practice, in China in 1999. For this, Jiang has been sued civilly and criminally for torture, crimes against humanity, and genocide in many countries, including the United States, Belgium, Spain, Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, Canada, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Bolivia, Chile, the Netherlands, Peru, Japan and Sweden according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.