Anything for Power: The Real Story of China’s Jiang Zemin – Chapter 18

The Lustful Sovereign Consorts With Mistresses; Villains Hold Sway, Nepotism Goes Unchecked
By Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
October 25, 2014 Updated: June 9, 2022

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.


Chapter 18: The Lustful Sovereign Consorts With Mistresses; Villains Hold Sway, Nepotism Goes Unchecked

The shady dealings of Jiang Zemin and his many mistresses have long been the subject of rumors in both official circles and among the general public. Then in 2002, much to Jiang’s indignation, an astonishing book, titled “The First Lady Song Zuying,” appeared in Shaodong City, Hunan Province. While the book’s publication resulted in the jailing of dozens, the arrests were unable to prevent the details of Jiang’s sex life from coming to light.

1. Ms. Song Zuying

Among Jiang’s mistresses, Song Zuying has gained the most attention.

“Come to See Your Brother When in Need”

Song Zuying, the daughter of a poor family of Miao ethnicity in western Hunan Province, was fortuitously selected to pursue college study in the Department of Music and Dance at the Central University for Nationalities. By another chance, she made her debut in CCTV’s 1991 Chinese New Year Gala and timidly sang “A Little Basket on the Back.” Although the song did not leave much an impression on the audience, with all her makeup on, Song Zuying was especially dazzling. During her performance, Jiang, who is old enough to be her grandfather, took a fancy to her.

Later, Jiang relocated Ms. Song to the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Political Department of the Chinese People’s Navy, where she became a major ranking performer. In the past, it was difficult for the Commander and Party Secretary of the Navy to see Jiang, but that situation changed, as Jiang would often come to the Political Department of the Navy to watch performances. And every time he was present, a particular performance by Song had to be included. At the end of the show, Jiang would go up to the stage to shake hands with the performers, but when he held the hand of Song, he did not seem to want to let it go. His eyes remained fixed on her, as if he would swallow her. Gradually, people seemed to wake up to something, so every time Jiang came, they would purposely place Song in the next to last spot on the program. In addition, they gave special consideration to her living conditions and rank.

At one point, while shaking her hand at the end of a show, Jiang covertly handed her a little slip of paper. Song did not dare open it immediately because of the crowd, so she put it in her pocket. After she returned home, she opened the paper and read, “Come to see your big brother when you are in need. Big brother can help you resolve anything.” The “big brother” was nobody other than Jiang himself. Later on, Song inadvertently revealed these words to others when she was flushed with success.

In order to protect his covert relationship with Song from external interference and exposure, Jiang asked Song to divorce her husband. After the divorce, Song lived in the Guest House in the Political Department of the Navy. Jiang often met Song in the Guest House at night. Jiang came secretly amidst tight security measures, and nobody from the outside could get near him. Also, every time Jiang came, a new license plate was put on his car so it couldn’t be identified as his specific vehicle. As soon as Jiang got out of the car, he went straight to the room Song was in. Regarding the rendezvous between Jiang and Song in the Guest House, the staff pretended to see nothing, but felt extremely disgusted within. Later, a senior cadre with a sense of propriety reported the Jiang-Song affair to his superior, but as a result the cadre was put under surveillance and his phone was monitored.

The age gap between Song, who was born on Aug. 1, 1966, in Guzhang County, Hunan Province, and Jiang, who was born on Aug. 26, 1926, in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, was a 40 full years. From the perspective of age, Jiang could have been Song’s grandfather. Thus, Song’s ex-husband, the so-called “older brother” Luo Hao, was given a very awkward role to play. Whenever journalists interviewed Song, the divorced ex-husband was required to be present, but was not allowed to talk to the reporters. Song left him in another room.

The Red Card of Zhongnanhai

Song Zuying enjoys unparalleled privilege to perform or to have her performances broadcast on CCTV. She decides by herself what songs to sing, and no directors or department heads at CCTV or even in the central government’s Ministry of Propaganda have a say in the matter. Jiang also requested that CCTV not divert the camera to senior officials in the audience while broadcasting Song’s performances, in order to maintain absolute consistency in the program.

In the summer of 2002, Song traveled to a city in Sichuan Province to attend a show specifically organized in her honor. With the approval of You Xigui, Director of the Central Guard Bureau, Zhou Yongkang, now Minister of Public Security and then the Party Secretary of Sichuan Province, provided Song with top security guard services—something that would normally only be available to a national leader at a rank above Vice Premier. Of course, this was an order from Jiang.

In this show, a gymnasium that held 40,000 to 50,000 spectators was packed, as everyone wanted to see Jiang’s mistress. Among the numbers that Song sang was a folk song of Hubei Province called “Dragon Boat Melody.” In the lyrics of the ballad there is a dialogue: “I, a young maiden, want to cross the river, who will give me a piggyback ride?” As she sang, when she got to this part, thousands of people in the audience below the stage responded unanimously, “Grandpa Jiang will give you one!” Song was very embarrassed but she could not stop the performance, because tens of thousands of people had paid for tickets to listen to her sing. So, she had no other choice but tough it out and continue singing. When she came to the second verse of the song, she had to repeat, “I, a young maiden, want to cross the river, who will give me a piggyback ride?” Once again, thousands of audience members below the stage responded loudly, “Grandpa Jiang will give you one!” After she returned to the hotel, she wept bitterly that night until her eyes turned red. The next day, Song flew back to Beijing to complain to Jiang. Jiang was angry, so he ordered the Party Secretary of that city in Sichuan Province to thoroughly investigate the incident. However, the Party Secretaries nowadays have learned the knack of being officials. They did not want to offend the people over this, so a few days later, a reply was sent to the concerned Department in the Central government, saying that although the city’s TV station and the Public Security Bureau all video taped the live performance that night, the cameras were all facing the stage, not the audience, so there was no way for them to identify the “rioters.” So nothing ever came of this incident.

According to insiders, Song carried a red card that allowed her to freely enter Zhongnanhai. The so-called “Red Card of Zhongnanhai” refers to a vehicle pass to enter Zhongnanhai. Generally speaking, only officials at the rank of minister are entitled to have this red card. Even the Director of CCTV, who is at the rank of deputy minister, does not hold a red card. In 1997, a female singer from another Ensemble was given a ride with Song to a recording session at the CCTV studio. In the car, this singer happened to open the glove compartment and unexpectedly found the Red Card of Zhongnanhai.

The story was soon spread so widely within the Ensemble of the Political Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army that the literature and art departments within the PLA systems and the telecommunication systems held multiple staff meetings requiring that all personnel concerned not “make, spread or believe” rumors. They even went on to impose this requirement as a political discipline by which all the staff members must abide. That female singer was dismissed before long and sent back to Tianjin. Nevertheless, each and every person understood full well where Song’s red card was from.

The Ultimatum on the Internet

As early as 1998, the affair between Jiang and Song had been so widely spread in Beijing that it was known to almost everybody. Taxi drivers often chatted with their customers about it as a way of killing time in traffic jams.

One day in 2001, Zhao An, the former head of the Literature and Art Department of CCTV and for many years director of CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala, invited some celebrated female stars—including Song Zuying—to dinner at the Quanjiafu Restaurant. At the table, Song bubbled over with enthusiasm about her romantic experiences with Jiang, and Zhao An secretly recorded her. Later, Zhao’s manuscript of this recording was discovered by his collaborator, librettist Zhang Junyi. Based on the content of this manuscript, Zhang sent over 200 anonymous letters to various state agencies, legal and disciplinary departments and related heads to expose Zhao An and Song for their “libel of leadership.” However, on Jiang’s orders, Zhang Junyi himself was later arrested, charged with offering and/or accepting a bribe along with Zhao An and sentenced to a prison term. Zhang Junyi received six years, while Zhao An received a 10 year sentence.

Later, Jiang initiated a special motion in the 16th congressional meeting, which enabled him to remain in power as Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). This irritated grass-roots scholar Lu Jiaping and he exposed the scandal between Jiang and Song. In order to block the information from leaking out, Jiang responded and Lu Jiaping was arrested at his home on Feb. 23, 2004.

The next day, an ultimatum appeared on the Internet, warning Jiang that there existed “professional” editions of audio and video evidence for each of his secret meetings with Song. If Lu Jiaping were not released the following day, the VCDs would be publicized both at home and abroad. Prior to this incident, a pornographic VCD showing the sexual exploits of an official in Taiwan was circulated on the Internet. Such a warning obviously hinted that some of Jiang’s rivals might have some extremely embarrassing pornographic evidence in their hands.

To the surprise of all, Lu Jiaping was released on the same day. However, after the VCD incident settled down, Jiang had Lu Jiaping detained again in Hunan, in order to completely shut him up.

Song continued her meteoric rise, and became a top-ranking performer of the state who enjoyed the “Governmental Special Allowance” given by the State Council. She has also become a member of the Political Consultative Conference, executive committee member of the All-China Women’s Federation, member of the National Youth Federation, and a board director for the Music Association of China.

The National Grand Theatre

In order to please Song Zuying, Jiang spared no expense from the state treasury.

When Song expressed her interest in performing a solo concert in Sydney, Jiang immediately appropriated tens of millions of yuan for the Navy to use in making Song famous in Australia. People found it very strange that the vocal background parts were performed by non-Chinese who could not even pronounce the Chinese words correctly. In addition, the musical instruments used were all of western origin, even though Song is a folk vocalist and the folk songs she sings require the accompaniment of Chinese folk musical instruments. There was only she, herself, the single soul on the stage, for a Chinese folk music concert, while all the other performers were westerners. The concert appeared to be neither Chinese nor western in style, giving the audience the impression of something that was neither fish nor fowl.

The organizer of the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea requested that China send a celebrity singer to perform during the opening ceremony, and it ended up that Song, who was regarded by the host as second-rate, was dispatched. To China’s embarrassment, Korea compensated all the other stars that appeared in the ceremony big time for their appearance, but Song did not receive even a penny.

Also, Jiang once paid over 10 million yuan to help Song publish her first selection of songs on CD, which went on sale just prior to lunar New Year’s Eve in 2002.

But the biggest gift through which Jiang ingratiated himself with Song was the National Grand Theatre.

On Dec. 13, 2001, the Xinhua News Agency announced the groundbreaking for the National Grand Theatre, which would be situated to the west of the Great People’s Hall. It occupies an area of 118,900 square meters, and sits on a construction site of 149,500 square meters. The total investment for the core of the project was 2.688 billion yuan. The peripheral part of the project cost over 800 million yuan, and was paid for by the city of Beijing. This part will be finished in four years. In addition to the above costs, a 300 million yuan investment was required prior to the completion of the project. The grand total for the project is 3.8 billion yuan—almost twice the sum of the donations made to the “Hope Project” from both at home and abroad over the past 15 years. This amount could have subsidized five million poor students’ educations.

Since its inception, the project has been mired in questions and disputes.

From whatever perspective, no experts believed in the necessity of building the Grand Theatre. They all strongly opposed and resisted this project. Scholars questioned the need to spend over 3 billion yuan to construct such a gigantic entertainment facility, even as the basic needs for food and shelter of unemployed workers in China could not be guaranteed. Moreover, the person in charge of the design was a French architect, Paul Andreu, who had no experience designing theaters. In fact, on May 23, 2004, a fatal collapse occurred at the roof of the new terminal 2E at Charles de Gaulle Airport, which was designed under Andreu’s supervision. The accident caused six deaths and multiple injuries. The public prosecutors’ office in Paris, France, said on May 29, 2004, that Paul Andreu, who was the general architect responsible for the design of the terminal at the de Gaulle Airport, was suspected of being involved in fraudulent practices in his efforts to win the bid for the National Grand Theatre in Beijing. The French authorities initiated a preliminary investigation of this allegation in July 2003.

As architectural experts have pointed out, from a cultural perspective, the Grand Theatre gives people an impression of a gigantic UFO full of aliens landing right in front of Zhongnanhai. Without reading any reports about the building, people can immediately recognize that it is a huge mistake and embarrassment to have a building that is completely out of harmony with the traditional culture of Beijing, the ancient capital of six dynasties in Chinese history. In addition, many questions exist about its practicality. Michael Kirkland, a member of The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, commented that this design had dumped architectural language and basic scientific principles down the drain; this was a very functional building, but the designer treated it as a work of art, which was a huge mistake. After sealing off the top with what looks like a lid and putting rooms within rooms, it is very difficult to set up any grand stages that require a tall and big space. Some have commented that the design was as practical as opening an umbrella indoors, and being inside felt like being trapped in a cocoon. As a result, it had to go underground as deep as six to eight stories, a truly absurd design.

Architectural Review, the world’s most prominent architectural magazine, called the theater an “outrage” in its December 1999 issue. It criticized Paul Andreu’s design and sarcastically called it “the perfect epidermis of his blob.” [1] “A huge shimmering blob sits jellyfish-like in the middle of its pond: yet another addition to the menagerie of object buildings that form the new texture of the city’s centre.”

From a bird’s eye view, the theater resembles a giant glob of phlegm, but Jiang reportedly has taken quite a fancy to it. Robert Lawrence Kuhn wrote in The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin, “From the southern tip of Zhongnanhai, where Jiang liked to view the moon and its reflection on the South Lake, one could look across the waters and see the breathtaking edifice rising.” [2]

To get to the theater, Paul Andreu arranged the approach under the lake, so that the audience has to go down through a 100 meter long tunnel, and then up again. For the Chinese people, the experience is comparable to crossing an underground passage of a giant tomb.

The National Grand Theater is beset with other problems, such as light pollution, high cleaning and maintenance expenses, a monthly electricity bill of 4 million yuan, and more. China is currently in dire need of electricity. One hundred and forty scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, as well as 114 renowned architects, planners and engineers, presented several joint letters to the Chinese Central government appealing to stop the plan to commission Paul Andreu to design the National Grand Theater.

Jiang showed no regard for the scientists’ opinions. Perhaps it was a higher priority for him to please his mistress, Song. He was determined to have it built as soon as possible. Some people came up with a semantic joke and called the theater “National Grand Brothel.” [Theater and brothel sound very similar in Chinese because theater is called ju yuan in Chinese and brothel, ji yuan.]

On the other hand, Song has been working hard to protect Jiang’s rule in order to repay him. Her selection of songs consistently contain lyrics that praise the Chinese Communist Party and Jiang, such as “A Good Life,” “It Is Getting Better,” “A Leader that Carries on the Heritage and Forges Ahead into the Future,” “Follow You Forever,” etc.

Leaders of the Chinese central and local governments are not less eager to please Song, because they know very well that it will be more rewarding than trying to please Jiang directly. The admirals in the Navy have been extremely protective of young “warrior” Song and very attentive to her needs. Once the Navy’s Song and Dance Band was going to entertain and comfort the Navy in Tibet. When a high-ranking Navy officer saw Song’s name on the list, he announced, “Song is not going to Tibet. The high plain of Tibet is cold and harsh. If anything should happen to her, we wouldn’t be able to face the General Secretary [of the Chinese Communist Party Jiang.]”