Anything for Power: The Real Story of China’s Jiang Zemin – Chapter 22

Under Fire From All Sides, Jiang Publishes a Misleading Biography While the Nine Commentaries Trigger a Storm (2004-2005)
November 19, 2014 Updated: February 8, 2015

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 22: Under Fire From All Sides, Jiang Publishes a Misleading Biography While the Nine Commentaries Trigger a Storm (2004-2005)

1. Under Fire From All Sides

A Probe Into Jiang’s Background and Suspicious Dealings

It was the eve of the Chinese New Year in 2004. CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala was unfolding as usual, with hosts speaking at the tops of their lungs and entertainers preparing to make the audience laugh. However, Jiang Zemin was not pleased. Although in previous years Song Zuying’s act had always led off the show, that year it was relegated to the end of the program; this was a sign that Jiang, who had reportedly had an affair with the singer, was losing his influence.

To make matters worse, even members of the general public were beginning to openly challenge Jiang’s authority.

On Feb. 21, 2004, Mr. Lu Jiaping, a scholar from Beijing, who was also a member of the Chinese Research Society on the History of World War II, wrote a letter to members of the CCP’s Central Committee, the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). He urged them to investigate some stories about Jiang that he had heard. In his letter, Lu described in detail numerous scandals regarding the relationship between Jiang and Song Zuying. For instance, he described how Jiang had once stuffed a note into Song’s hand, how he had told Song to get divorced, how he had secretly committed adultery with Song, how he had used state funds to hold concerts for Song in Vienna and Sydney, how he had diverted money from navy expenditures in order to hold a drama concert for Song, and how Jiang had used three billion yuan to build the Grand Theater to please Song.

Lu did not only discuss Jiang’s private life, however. As early as March 26, 2003, Lu addressed a letter to Hu Jintao and the other eight members of the CCP’s Standing Committee of the Politburo, with carbon copies sent to the major ministries and commissions directly under the State Council. In his letter, Lu asked the leaders to officially investigate Jiang’s political history. Coincidentally, half a year later, Wu Jiang, Chairman of the French Branch of the China Democracy Party wrote a five-page research report in which he quoted the memoir of a former officer of the Soviet intelligence agency and pointed out that Jiang had been a senior spy for the KGB. When he studied in Moscow in the 1950s, Jiang secretly joined the KGB Far-East Bureau after the Soviet intelligence agency threatened to make public his traitorous history and tempted him with women and money. Jiang was responsible for collecting information on Chinese students in the Soviet Union and China.

After Lu Jiaping sent the above letter, Jiang retaliated against him and he went missing for three days. Later, an ultimatum appeared on an Internet bulletin board. It claimed that if Lu Jiaping were not released, a video showing Jiang and Song Zuying’s promiscuity would be published online. Surprisingly, Lu was released the day after this anonymous message was posted, indicating that the posting struck a cord with Jiang. Regardless, the posting itself raises the question of how someone was able to record Jiang’s clandestine meeting with Song with “absolutely professional” quality if they had met in a secret place, which they were certain was absolutely safe. Who were these people that had dared to challenge Jiang when he had not yet fully stepped down?

In May 2004, a new phenomenon called “Stomping on Jiang” appeared overseas. This involved stomping on a picture of Jiang’s face as a way of expressing discontent and frustration with his policies. On July 1, half a million people held a parade in Hong Kong to advocate for democracy and freedom in the territory and protest attempts to alter the Basic Law. Among the banners and posters they carried were ones that showed people “stomping on Jiang.” During and after the parade, many passers-by joined the “stomping on Jiang” activities. Zeng Qinghong reported this news to Hu Jintao, expecting that he would see it as significant information and take steps to stop it. However, Hu responded, “Let the people handle their issues themselves!” Upon hearing Hu’s response, Zeng became speechless.

Jiang Yanyong’s Open Letter and the “Tiananmen Massacre VCD”

In February 2004, Dr. Jiang Yanyong, who was well known for having made public the spread of SARS the previous year, wrote an open letter to the NPC and the CPPCC. In the letter, he asked these bodies to address and investigate the calamitous ending to the student-led pro-democracy movement of 1989. The letter was later spread widely over the Internet.

In his letter, Dr. Jiang recalled what he had witnessed during the summer of 1989. At the time, Dr. Jiang was the head of the general surgery department in People’s Liberation Army Hospital number 301. As a result, he personally treated people wounded in the Tiananmen Square Massacre. In his letter, he described in detail several deaths that he had witnessed. He also confirmed that the army had indeed fired high-explosive shells (something forbidden by the Geneva Convention) to kill students and residents in Beijing on June 4, 1989.

The Tiananmen Square Massacre was Jiang Zemin’s Achilles heel, so he quickly had Dr. Jiang Yanyong kidnapped and detained. However, Jiang Zemin was no longer as powerful as he had been before. Officials in the top echelons of the CCP and the army were very unhappy with Jiang for arresting Jiang Yanyong, given the latter’s international reputation following the SARS exposure. Thus, Jiang soon had to release the doctor.

The Tiananmen Massacre continued to worry Jiang Zemin. The less power he had, the more worried he became. Before the 15th anniversary of the massacre in the summer of 2004, the Central Propaganda Department made a VCD about the incident per Jiang’s instructions. All officials above the level of ‘director’ in the Party, the government and the military were required to watch the VCD in order to be acquainted with the “June 4th Disturbance” and “to unify their thoughts.” All copies of the video were to be “watched at the scene, and taken back to the scene,” and “saving [copies] for individuals was prohibited.” Li Peng had wanted to write a memoir, but was not allowed to. It was thus quite unusual that Jiang would publish a video on the massacre at that time.

Some analysts have explained that Jiang knew that he had an inglorious history and rise to power, making him especially fearful that others would expose his role in the massacre. Thus, his aim in making the video may have been to whitewash the role he played in the massacre. The production of the “June 4th” video indicated Jiang’s difficult situation as his power declined. He had to worry about digging his own way out and therefore, attempted to gain the upper hand by circulating a censored version of the event early on.

Veterans of the Armed Forces Break Into Zhongnanhai

On Aug. 26, 2004, more than 300 veterans from the 39th Army Corps broke through the gates of Zhongnanhai and entered the tightly guarded government compound. They wore their medals and carried a wreath, which they said was meant for Jiang Zemin.

Breaking into Zhongnanhai would have been inconceivable in the past. Anyone who attempted to do so would have been executed on the spot. In this case, however, many of the veterans had formerly been famous commanders from the Second Column of the Northeastern Field Army. The compound’s guards recognized some of their faces and dared not use reckless force to stop their entry.

The veterans requested that the question of whether the Party should lead the army or vice versa be settled. Apparently, they wanted Jiang to step down as commander of the armed forces. Hu Jintao’s secretary Wang Wei personally went out to meet with them and carefully calmed them down.

That more than 300 distinguished veterans would and could break into Zhongnanhai to deliver a wreath to Jiang who at the time held the position of Chairman of Communist Party Military Commission showed that Jiang was losing his power and status among servicemen. That Hu Jintao would send his secretary to meet the veterans and accept the wreath showed that Hu was no longer as docile as before and was willing to assert his authority as head of the Party.

A Special Train With Tight Security

Jiang never quite trusted the people around him. Every time he promoted a group of people, he soon began to doubt their loyalty and to search for the next group of people to appoint in their place. As a result, Jiang promoted a large number of generals: he once promoted 152 generals in one day and 500 generals in a single year. Despite there being so many generals indebted to him for their positions, Jiang felt no sense of security during the critical moments when he needed protection.

Jiang dared not travel by plane for he feared that someone might plant a bomb on his aircraft. Thus, starting in early 2004, Jiang rode on a private train whenever he went to inspect activities or bases in other cities. His private train was custom-made with two internal-combustion engines. The compartments were imported from Germany, and were then remodeled and reinforced. One of the compartments was equipped with the most advanced electronic communications system available so that Jiang could issue orders in case of an “unexpected war.” Every time Jiang took the train, he insisted that it be thoroughly inspected inside and out before he boarded. The inspection was conducted under the watchful eyes of his most trusted aide and upon its completion, the entire vehicle was sealed off and guarded by soldiers.

Jiang went to Kaifeng City in Henan Province in early July 2004. Fearing an assassination attempt, Jiang instructed his staff to spread the rumor ahead of time that it was Hu Jintao who was arriving. After Jiang arrived in Kaifeng, he would not stay in the local luxurious hotels, but rather decided to sleep in the guesthouse of the remote compound of the 20th Army Corps. In mid-July, Jiang traveled from Jinan Military Area Command to Wuhan City in order to inspect military establishments in central China. However, when his trusted aides reported that the army unit stationed in the area had moved unexpectedly, Jiang left in a hurry.

That same month, Jiang headed south on the train to Hanzhou, traveling through Nanjing and Shanghai along the way. He feared an explosion similar to one that occurred at a train station in North Korea following ruler Kim Jong-il’s secret visit to China. [1] So, in order to guard against anyone attempting to place something along the route or loosen any rails on the track, Jiang ordered policemen to be posted every 20 meters (approximately 66 feet) along the line on which he was scheduled to travel. The guards covered both night and day shifts so that there could be someone on duty 24 hours a day from the day before Jiang’s trip until three hours after his train had passed.

Deng Xiaoping’s Family Exposes a Big Secret

Hu Jintao was personally appointed by Deng Xiaoping [to be Jiang’s successor]. After he seized the positions of General Secretary of the CCP and President of the state, he gradually consolidated his power. The rivalry between Jiang and Hu became increasingly confrontational with each passing day.

As the 4th Plenary Meeting of the 16th National Party Congress that was scheduled for September 2004 approached, Jiang promoted a large number of officers within the military. He also traveled to many places to oversee large-scale military maneuvers and drills, thereby asserting his authority and demonstrating his reluctance to relinquish his power over military affairs.

In addition to the approaching plenary meeting, Aug. 22 was the 100th anniversary of Deng Xiaoping’s birth. During this time, various factions within the government elite began to make known their positions regarding the Hu-Jiang rivalry.

On July 28, 2004, CCTV aired a special interview with Deng Xiaoping’s family members who commented that Deng Xiaoping had not interfered with the younger generation’s administration of affairs. Deng’s behavior was thus contrasted with Jiang’s refusal to give up his power and his desire to hang onto his position in the military. China’s high-ranking officials are very reluctant to undertake overt acts that lead to public confrontations. The subtle but bold statement by Deng’s family showed how they, as well as many other Party elders and high-ranking officers, disliked Jiang for his continued involvement in state affairs.

Another example of Jiang’s loss of status among high-ranking Chinese officials occurred during a reception for “Army Day” that was held on July 31. In a speech given at the event, Cao Gangchuan, Minister of National Defense, emphasized his support for Hu Jintao, but did not mention Jiang, although the latter was his superior as well. This indicated that Hu’s status was rising not only among civilian officials, but within military circles as well.