Unbridled Evil: The Corrupt Reign of Jiang Zemin in China | Chapter 1, Part II:

A translation of the book 'The Real Jiang Zemin' from the original Chinese
By Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
March 19, 2020Updated: June 9, 2022

Read the series here: Unbridled Evil

Jiang Zemin’s Rise (Part II)

Table of Contents

Section 4: Purging Political Opponents

Section 5: Incompetent and Vain

Section 4: Purging Political Opponents

Once in power, Jiang set about removing his political opponents, one after another.

Purging Yang Brothers in 1992

Jiang Zemin had no experience of war. It was well known that senior military leaders did not take Jiang seriously. Yang Shangkun made fun of Jiang that Jiang did not know how to use a gun.

The friendship between the Yang brothers and Deng Xiaoping dated back to 1930s when all three served in the CCP military. Deng, who had served in the Second Field Army of the military, was chairman of the CMC from June 1981 to November 1989. Those who had served in the Third and Fourth Field Army were most dissatisfied with Deng. The Yang brothers were on the side of Deng Xiaoping, and so became the target of the dissatisfaction of some factions within the army. Jiang found an opportunity to remove the Yang brothers.

In August 1992, Deng Xiaoping had a stroke and was critically ill. At that time, the positions and titles were being discussed for the 14th CCP Congress. Jiang was at a disadvantage because he delayed his support of Deng’s southern tour speech.

In late August 1992, Yang Baibing called for a meeting of 46 senior military leaders in Beijing to discuss military personnel arrangements, focusing on whether Jiang Zemin was qualified for the position of the CMC Chairman. Yang Baibing mentioned that a lot of people opposed Deng Xiaoping’s reform policies and requested ideas as to how to continue Deng’s policies after his death. Participants criticized Jiang’s incompetence, citing his lack of military background and failure to support reform. The conclusion was that Jiang was not qualified for the position of chairman of the CMC.

When Jiang Zemin heard about the meeting, he was panic-stricken. On the advice of Zeng Qinghong, a counselor Jiang took with him from Shanghai to Beijing, Jiang Zemin started rumors that the Yang brothers “intended to overturn Deng Xiaoping” and told Deng that he himself was very much concerned. After a while, Deng Xiaoping began to suspect the Yang brothers, and asked his people to inquire about it. Sure enough, such rumors existed. So, the Yang brothers lost Deng’s trust.

A little background about Zeng Qinghong is in order here. Zeng Qinghong is a “secretive and powerful backroom organizer in the Chinese communist political system,” according to The Epoch Times in a 2014 article.[1] He was a member of the “Shanghai Faction,” who were political operatives linked to Jiang since their days together in Shanghai. The Epoch Times said that he was known as “Jiang’s right-hand man,” Jiang’s “enforcer,” and “hatchet man.”

In order to drive a wedge in the relationship between Deng Xiaoping and Yang Shangkun, Jiang and Zeng Qinghong took a multi-faceted approach. In his later years, Deng was isolated, and relied heavily on his children for his information. Zeng met with Deng’s son, Deng Pufang, and told him that the Yang brothers wanted to completely replace Deng Xiaoping’s men in the army. Zeng also stated that Yang Shangkun was hesitant on the issue of the Tiananmen Square Massacre and that he intended to overturn Deng Xiaoping’s position on the crackdown.

Shortly after Zeng’s meeting with Deng Pufang, Jiang Zemin met with Deng Xiaoping and alleged that the Yang brothers had ambitions to seize military power.

From September 7 to 10, 1992, the CMC met to discuss military personnel appointments at the 14th CCP Congress. Yang Baibing, in charge of the military personnel, submitted a list of 100 middle and senior level leaders for promotion. After the approval of Liu Huaqing and Yang Shangkun, the list was passed to Jiang Zemin for review and approval. Jiang did not approve and informed Yang that he needed to consult Deng Xiaoping.

Rumors reached the ears of Deng Xiaoping about the Yang brothers’ ambition to take over the military and their intentions to overturn the decision of the Tiananmen Massacre.

On the eve of the 14th CCP Congress, on Oct. 6, 1992, then-retired Deng Xiaoping wrote to the Politburo about the arrangements for the CMC personnel: “In the future, comrades Liu Huaqing and Zhang Zhen will manage the daily operations of the CMC under the leadership of Comrade Jiang Zemin. For the future successor, we need to have someone familiar with the military.” In the letter, Deng Xiaoping laid out a specific plan for the new CMC leadership.

The 1st Plenary Session of the 14th Central Committee of the CCP Congress was held in Beijing from October 12 to 18, 1992. The Yang brothers were stripped of their military power. The Deng and Yang families parted ways after the 60 years of friendship.

Ousting Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong

At the 4th Plenary Session in September 1994, the CCP announced the completion of its power transition from its second generation of leaders to its third. As Deng Xiaoping’s health continued to deteriorate, Jiang Zemin gradually promoted his own people. At this time, Jiang Zemin began to move against the Beijing municipal government.

Beijing is the headquarters of the Communist Party. Control of the Beijing Military Region, the Beijing Communist Party Municipal Committee, the municipal government of Beijing, and the CCP Central Security Guard Regiment have traditionally been critical for the CCP leadership. Hence the power struggle. Without control, the top CCP leaders do not feel secure.

By 1995, Chen Xitong, a Politburo member and the mayor of Beijing, had a record of achievements. Beijing successfully held the Asian Games and opened the Second Beltway and Third Beltway (concentric circles of roads inside the city). Beijing had undergone a major makeover. Moreover, Chen Xitong took a tough stance in the Tiananmen Massacre, so he thought he had a lot of merit in maintaining the CCP’s rule and expected a step up in the Politburo. However, Jiang took the top position.

Chen Xitong had very good relations with Deng Xiaoping. During his visit to the Beijing Steel Company in 1992, Deng publicly declared Chen a reformist. Chen advocated reform through the programs at the Beijing TV that he controlled, and made reform speeches on various occasions. Chen directed the official Beijing municipal newspaper Beijing Daily (北京日报) to publish Deng Xiaoping’s southern tour speech in full text, one day earlier than People’s Daily (人民日报), which was under Jiang’s control. Chen became a big problem for Jiang.

In 1995, Zhou Guanwu, the former chairman of the board of Beijing Steel Company, was removed from his post due to corruption, leading to a series of corruption investigations and charges. Wang Baosen, Chen’s deputy, died in April 1995 at a small hill in the suburb of Beijing. The official explanation was that Wang shot himself out of fear of prosecution on corruption charges. However, the footprints at the site, the wound, gunpowder, bullet casings and other clues showed the incident as a homicide rather than a suicide.

Jiang Zemin ordered a thorough investigation. It was reported that from July 1991 to November 1994, Chen Xitong accepted 22 precious gifts (8 gold and silver products, 6 luxury watches, 4 high-end fountain pens, 3 cameras and 1 video camera) from foreign guests he met during official functions, the total value of which was over 555,000 yuan.[2] For the leaders at the level of the Politburo, this amount would be considered extremely small.

In 1998, Chen Xitong was sentenced to 16 years on corruption and dereliction of duty. His son, Chen Xiaotong, was also sentenced.

Qiao Shi’s Retirement in 1997

1997 was a year of great political importance for the top CCP leadership.

On the evening of Feb. 19, 1997, Deng Xiaoping was pronounced dead, after suffering from Parkinson’s disease for years.

Two days after the memorial service, all the officers and soldiers of China’s military and all police personnel were ordered to study Jiang’s eulogy and were demanded to “be absolutely and totally in line with the Party’s Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at its core.” In the editorial issued by the People’s Daily on February 25, the words “the Party’s Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at its core” appeared as many as nine times, clearly establishing Jiang’s authority as No. 1 in the hierarchy of CCP politics.

Born in December 1924 in Shanghai, Qiao Shi joined the CCP at the age of 16. He was a member of the party’s top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, from 1987 to 1997. It was reported that by all measures he was more qualified, had better credentials, and had a wider political network than his long-time subordinate, Jiang Zemin, for the CCP general secretary, but eventually lost out to Jiang. Since 1993 he had been chairman of the Standing Committee of the 8th National People’s Congress. Among top CCP leaders, Qiao was known for his liberal stance on the rule of law and market-oriented reform of state-owned enterprises. With his extensive network of trusted subordinates in key positions around the country, Qiao became a challenge, if not a threat, to Jiang’s leadership.

After Deng’s death in February 1997, Jiang Zemin and his cohorts proposed a policy that any member on the Politburo Standing Committee must resign before reaching 70 years old. Qiao was 73.

The 15th CCP Congress was held from September 12 to 18, 1997. Qiao Shi retired from politics thereafter.

Jiang himself was 71 years old at the time and should also have retired per the same 70-years-old policy. However, he made an exception for himself because he was serving as the CCP general secretary.

Li Ruihuan Steps Down in 2002

The 16th CCP National Congress was scheduled to be held in November 2002. According to the rule of mandatory retirement at the age of 70, Jiang Zemin would have no choice but to step down. In order for him to continue to rule the CCP behind the scenes, he needed to install a few of his cohorts. Li Ruihuan, a Politburo Standing Committee member, became an obstacle to Jiang’s plan.

Li was originally a carpenter in Tianjin. After his invention of “simplified calculation method,” which updated the traditional “lofting method” in carpentry, he rose up the ranks of the construction industry and Tianjin politics in 1987 when he was going to enter the Politburo. However, at the age of 53, he would be the youngest Politburo member and he was merely a Tianjin party secretary at that time. If he were made a Politburo member, some older communist leaders might object. Therefore, several provincial party secretaries were elevated at the same time. It was arranged that Beijing Party Secretary Li Ximing, Shanghai Party Secretary Jiang Zemin, and Party Secretary Yang Rudai of Sichuan, the largest province in China, to join the Politburo along with Li Ruihuan during the 13th CCP National Congress in 1987.

For Jiang Zemin to keep control of CCP politics behind the scenes after his retirement at the 16th CCP Congress in 2002, Jiang must make sure Li would also retire together with him in 2002 so that Jiang’s senior advisor Zeng would be able to control the Secretariat and the Politburo Standing Committee.

In 2002, Li Ruihuan was 68 years old, two years younger than the mandatory retirement age of 70 invented by Zeng in 1997. Therefore, Jiang introduced a new practice: if a person were 67 years old, then the person could still serve another term on the Politburo Standing Committee. However, if the person were 68 years old, then the person must step down from the Politburo Standing Committee.

Both Jiang and Li stepped down at the 16th CCP Congress in 2002. Zeng Qinghong became a member on the Politburo Standing Committee. In 2007, at the CCP’s 17th CCP Congress, Zeng at 68 years old, found himself a victim of his own success. He stepped down from the Politburo Standing Committee.

The Shanghai Gang

The “Shanghai Gang” is the name given to Jiang Zemin’s CCP allies whom he knew when he held the position of the Shanghai Party Secretary prior to becoming the General Secretary of the CCP. It was a faction based on the geographic area of Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang Provinces. Identified with Jiang, the “Shanghai Gang” members carried the obvious characteristics of people in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang Provinces: smart and pragmatic. During the thirteen years when Jiang served as the CCP General Secretary, “Shanghai Gang” officials built networks throughout the central and local Party and State organs at all levels. They were the largest political force at that time.

Chen Liangyu was a typical example showing the rise and fall as a “Shanghai Gang” member.

Chen Liangyu became party secretary of Shanghai Electric Industrial Company in March 1984. He made special efforts to cultivate a friendship with Jiang Zemin’s wife Wang Yeping, an employee at a subsidiary of his company. He visited her at work and home with gifts, and promoted her eventually to a senior position. He also arranged a job within in his company for Jiang’s youngest son and paid for the son’s college education.

As a result of this special friendship, Chen was promoted to deputy director of Shanghai Old Cadre Bureau in January 1985 and to the head of the Huangpu District in Shanghai in February 1987. Later Chen was promoted to the position of deputy mayor of Shanghai. After Jiang became the CCP Party Secretary in 1989 following the Tiananmen massacre, Jiang made Chen mayor of Shanghai, Shanghai Party Secretary, and a Politburo member. Chen became one of Jiang’s most trusted go-getters and his housekeeper for Shanghai.

Chen was removed from official duties in September 2006 on corruption charges related to the misuse of money in Shanghai’s social security funds. In April 2008, Chen was sentenced to eighteen years in prison on charges of financial fraud, abuse of power, and bribery.

Prominent “Shanghai Gang” members include Zeng Qinghong, Wu Bangguo, Huang Ju, Chen Liangyu, Chen Zhili, and Jia Tingan.

Jiang’s Influence After 2002

On Nov. 15, 2002, at the 16th CCP Congress, Jiang officially retired from the top CCP position as the general secretary of the CCP Central Committee. However, he continued to control much of the top levels of power.

Seven out of nine standing members of the Politburo were Jiang’s cohorts as result of Jiang’s considerable influence on its composition. Two days before his retirement, Jiang conspired with his cohorts who made a surprise special motion and got it passed at a Politburo meeting. The unprecedented special motion allowed Jiang to stay on for two more years as chairman of the Central Military Commission after his retirement at the 16th CCP Congress. Even after his term as chairman of the CMC ended in March 2005, Jiang maintained an office at the CMC.

His substantial influence on the CCP affairs through his cohorts were on full display during the Great Wenchuan earthquake in 2008. On May 12, 2008, an earthquake measured at 8.0 Ms magnitude (7.9 Mw) at the epicenter hit Wenchuan, Sichuan Province. Then-General Secretary Hu Jintao and then-Premier Wen Jiabao ordered the military to go onsite immediately to start the urgent rescue mission. The military, however, under Jiang’s cohort’s control, didn’t show up until the fourth day, missing the most critical window to save lives. According to the final count, 69,197 died and another 18,222 went unaccounted for.

At the 18th CCP Congress in November 2012, Xi Jinping succeeded Hu Jintao and took office as the CCP General Secretary. Under Xi, five out of the nine Standing Members of the Politburo were still Jiang’s cohorts who further Jiang’s agenda.

Jiang’s ultimate agenda for his cohorts was to ensure he would not be held responsible for the persecution of Falun Gong that he initiated in July 1999. Personal jealousy has been cited as the reason for his 1999 decision to crack down on the widely popular meditation practiced by over one hundred million in China at the time. Jiang carried out the persecution through his cohorts in the CCP Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission and the 6-10 Office. The latter was named for the date of its establishment on June 10, 1999 for the purpose of coordinating the persecution of Falun Gong. As discussed in the following chapters, the size and reach of Jiang’s anti-Falun Gong persecution surpassed that of any previous CCP political campaigns.

Section 5: Incompetent and Vain

In 2004 Jiang stepped down from his last official position, which was the CMC Chairman. During his career, a few items especially stand out that show his shallow, contemptible, and shady character. Let’s discuss three here: Jiang’s “Three Represents” doctrine, his public appearances before media and foreign dignitaries, and how a biography of Jiang was specially arranged to be written by a foreigner.

Jiang: So-called Marxist Theoretician

In early March 2000, the mouthpiece of the CCP, The People’s Daily (人民日报), ran an editorial to introduce, with much fanfare, a new CCP doctrine called the “Three Represents.” It stated, “The Communist Party must always represent the requirements of the development of China’s advanced productive forces, the orientation of the development of China’s advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China.”

Of course, this quote is Chinese Marxist theory; the theory of the Three Represents is more of the same empty words. But Jiang felt he needed something to solidify his position as “the Third Generation [communist] theoretical authority.” So, he wanted to claim a new doctrine to serve as his legacy in order to have a status comparable to Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

The original author of the “Three Represents” was Wang Huning, who worked at the Policy Research Office of the CCP Central Committee. Previously, he was a professor in the Department of International Politics at Fudan University. When Jiang Zemin became the Party Secretary of Shanghai, he would recite large chunks of Wang Huning’s articles.

On Feb. 25, 2000, Jiang announced the Theory of Three Represents as his own work at a meeting with Guangzhou provincial leaders at the Zhudao Hotel in Guangzhou. Soon, a national publicity campaign followed, led by the People’s Daily’s editorial in early March 2000.

During the national promotional blitz, China Central Television (CCTV) had daily special programs with interviews of people from all walks of life. An old farmer said, “We built a bridge in the village, thanks to the Three Represents.” A woman said, “My daughter-in-law gave birth to a chubby baby boy, thanks to the Three Represents.” In a rural area, there was a ludicrous billboard on the wall of a slaughterhouse reading, “The Three Represents guides our slaughter work.”

At a prison, inmates were assigned to assemble pornographic books that were then sold to generate revenues for the prison system. During that time, the Three Represents had become the mantra in the politically sensitive legal system, and everything had to be linked with the Three Represents. When some inmates exceeded their quota of assembling pornographic books, they had to say it was achieved under the guidance of the Three Represents.

Praise for the Three Represents reached such an absurd level, but few, both inside and outside the CCP, respected Jiang’s theory of the Three Represents.

Bao Tong, former director of CCP Central Committee Political Reform Research Office, once said that the theory of the Three Represents plays the role of a magic mirror, because “to always represent the overwhelming majority of the people” is empty talk, “to always represent advanced culture” is a lie, and to “always represent advanced productive forces” is a synonym for the collusion and complicity of State officials and businesses.

People critical of the Three Represents said that to assert that the theory represented “the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of people,” was a total lie. Many of the “overwhelming majority” of farmers made their living by selling their blood, kidneys, or themselves. When they contracted AIDS, no one inquired or cared about them. And over 30 million workers, referred to as “the big brothers” by CCP, were laid off. Jiang Zemin never thought about representing them.

Later, the book, Jiang Zemin’s Military Thought Anthology, scheduled to publish before the Fourth Plenary Session of 16th CCP Congress, was shelved, because more than ten senior military generals, including Zhang Zhen, Hong Xuezhi, and Yang Baibing, wrote a petition opposing it, stating that Jiang Zemin placed himself in an inappropriate position. Yang Baibing even said in public that the Three Represents was simply garbage.

‘Clown Jiang’

The people of Shanghai enjoy finding humor in ridiculing Jiang. When Jiang was in charge of Shanghai during 1980s, he was dubbed the “giant panda” or “big toad” by locals, because he wore a thick black glasses and thought highly of himself but did not do any work. Later as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Jiang turned his public appearances into theatrical shows, known as “Clown Jiang.”

Jiang visited Spain in June 1996. Spain’s King Juan Carlos invited him to review military honor guards. At the ceremony, Jiang suddenly took out a comb and began to groom himself. In the evening at the state banquet, Jiang, sitting next to Queen Sofía, started to comb his hair right in front of the media cameras. On June 25, 1996, Spain’s largest newspaper, El Pais, and many other newspapers, published this photo in its front page with the caption “King Carlos Watches Jiang Comb His Hair.” Soon, this story was picked up by newspapers around the world.

Earlier during the 8th National People’s Congress held in Beijing in March 1993, Jiang, who sat in the center of the stage, took out his comb and groomed his hair intensively. Agence France Presse captured the moment on camera. On Oct. 24, 1995, Jiang did the same while giving a speech in front of the United Nations’ Centenary Tripod.

In Jiang’s June 1996 visit to the Philippines, at a state banquet on a yacht, Jiang grabbed a microphone and launched into a rendition of “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley, apparently directed to the charming Senator Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (who was later elected President in 2001), whom Jiang had just met.

On Oct. 24, 1999, during a visit to a museum in France, Jiang grabbed the hands of France’s First Lady Bernadette Chirac and started dancing the waltz as a surprised President Jacques Chirac looked on. Then Jiang held Bernadette’s hands and started laughing loudly.

On April 19, 2000 during Jiang’s visit to Turkey, President Süleyman Demirel was preparing to place a national medal on Jiang, the recipient. To everyone’s surprise, Jiang stepped forward and put the medal on himself.

On Feb. 21, 2002, Jiang hosted a banquet to welcome President George W. Bush in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, with more than one hundred VIP guests. Unscheduled, Jiang sang “’O sole mio.” He then grabbed First Lady Laura Bush for a dance, followed by dances with U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to China, Sarah Randt. That same year, in the middle of the state banquet in Iceland, Jiang suddenly stood up and burst into singing, leaving hosts and guests completely stunned. To those present, Wang Yeping, Jiang’s wife, looked totally embarrassed.

On Oct. 27, 2000 at a press conference in Hong Kong, Jiang lost his temper and roared to a Hong Kong journalist, Sharon Cheung, on a question related to the re-election of Chee-Hwa Tung, the first Hong Kong Chief Executive. As a widely viewed online video shows, Jiang fumed with rage in front of Hong Kong reporters.

REPORTER: President Jiang, do you think Mr. Tung’s re-election is good?
REPORTER: Does the Party Central Committee support him?
JIANG: Of course!
REPORTER: Do you worry this will affect Hong Kong’s autonomy?

JIANG: What I said is not that I have hand-picked him. You asked me if I support him. I said, “Yes.” I need to be clear with you. I think your media need to learn. You have learned a lot about the Western style. But you are too young, do you understand? Let me tell you, I am battle-hardened and have faced all kinds of things. There isn’t one Western country that I have not been to. You know the American journalist Mike Wallace? He is much more competent than you. I can talk with him so naturally. The media should improve their knowledge, don’t you know! One thing you’re good at is that wherever and whatever happened, you run to there much faster than Western reporters. But your questions are too simple and sometimes naïve. Do you understand what I said? As an elder, I have seen a lot. Let me give you some advice. Chinese have a saying, “Keep your mouth shut and make a big fortune.” It would be the best if I don’t say anything. But since you are so ignorant, it would not be good if I don’t say something. If you report differently from what I just said, you will be held responsible for it.

Jiang concluded his answer by yelling, “You people are naïve! I am angry!”

The next day, October 28, almost all Hong Kong newspapers published Jiang’s angry photo, as well as the complete irrational interview. This was the first time the Hong Kong media was in unison in denouncing China’s head of state after Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.

Arrangements for Jiang’s Biography

In 2001, an American, Robert Lawrence Kuhn, went to China, and with support of the CCP, interviewed Jiang’s former teachers and friends. As a censored communist country, one can imagine that the people he interviewed were cautious and careful in their answers. Based on these interviews and information provided by the CCP, Kuhn wrote a book titled, “The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin.”

Jiang was undoubtedly familiar with CCP propaganda techniques that use foreign figures to support CCP causes. The book by Kuhn was published and promoted simultaneously in both English and Chinese versions in early 2005 in China and overseas, with wide coverage by mainland Chinese media. For example, Shanghai media Liberation Daily (解放日报), Wenhui Daily (文汇报), and Xinmin Evening News (新民晚报) published excerpts of the book in full pages. Chinese mainland media dubbed Kuhn “a contemporary Edgar Snow,” an American journalist known for interviews and books on CCP leaders, including Mao Zedong, in the 1930s and later.

It has been noted that various parts of the English version are not in the Chinese version, thus making somewhat different versions for domestic and overseas audiences. Such tailoring raises the question of whether it is done to be in line with Jiang’s propaganda strategy.

Chinese biography writer Ye Yonglie wrote an article published in the news magazine Asianweek (亚洲周刊), “Secrets Between the Book of Jiang Zemin Biography and Me.[3]” In the article, Ye revealed some insider information of what happened before and after the book was written. Ye said that he received a long distant phone call from Beijing on March 12, 2001. The caller claimed to be Mr. Y from a CCP Central Committee organization and that he had something important to discuss. Ye immediately went to Beijing. It turned out that Kuhn wanted a Chinese partner, and Ye was identified by the CCP as the top candidate to collaborate with Kuhn to write the Jiang Zemin biography. This was a sensitive task, named “Project 001.”

According to Ye’s Asianweek article, Ye and Kuhn discussed the plan for the book and the interview list for two days. After Ye returned to Shanghai, he prepared an overall concept for the book, a 3,000-word outline, a 15-page chronological record of Jiang that included a large number of references, and an interviewee list of over a hundred people. Kuhn was pleased.

The initial collaboration went smoothly until Ye found out that the writing proposal listed Kuhn as the author and Ye as the chief interviewer and researcher. Ye believed that as a professional writer affiliated with Shanghai Writers Association and to protect the dignity of Chinese writers, he and Kuhn were equal collaborators and he was not a “writer for hire.” Ye declined to sign the writing proposal and their collaboration ended. Later, people close to the source told Ye that the arrangement came from above and that it was not Kuhn’s idea or wish. “The authority above in charge of the project believed that it was better for a foreigner alone to write a Jiang Zemin biography and advised that Ye should not insist on co-authorship.

Ye recalled a discussion with Kuhn later. Kuhn told him that what Ye did on the book provided much help, and that the reason that the two could not continue to collaborate was complicated and was out of his control. According to Ye, Kuhn sighed and said that China is a “black box.” Kuhn expressed that Ye was helpful with respect to the black box operation. He also explained that the reason that they could not continue with their collaboration was not because of him, but the black box.

Critical to writing a Jiang Zemin biography is the June 4 Tiananmen Square movement and Zhao Ziyang, whom the writing team should interview. Zhao Ziyang lived at No. 6 of Fuqiang Lane in Beijing after he was removed from the office. It was easy to find Zhao, who had a lot of time on his hands. Kuhn did not interview Zhao. Moreover, Kuhn did not interview a Tiananmen massacre victim’s mother, Ding Ziling, or any dissidents or human rights defenders. Persecuting Falun Gong was at the top of Jiang’s agenda during his term, but Kuhn did not interview any persecuted Falun Gong practitioners.

According to sources in public security, the Asianweek article caused a political storm. Jiang was furious. As a result, Ye’s name was added to an internal blacklist for surveillance. The “Mr. Y from a CCP Central Committee organization” turned out to be Deputy Director of the Information Office of the State Council Information Office Mr. Yang Yang. (It is also called the International Communication Office of the CCP Central Committee.) It is the public affairs office of the CCP that promotes and manages the images of the CCP leaders.

Read Next:Chapter 2, Corruption Soars Under Jiang, Part I


[1] Robertson, Matthew. (February 3, 2014). ‘Enforcer’ Zeng Qinghong Said to Be Next Corruption Target. The Epoch Times. https://www.theepochtimes.com/enforcer-zeng-qinghong-said-to-be-next-corruption-target_485937.html

[2] News of the Communist Party of China. (July 31, 1998). Beijing Municipal High People’s Court Started Open Trial of Chen Xitong on July 31, 1998. People’s Daily Online. http://cpc.people.com.cn/GB/64162/64165/67447/68010/4645609.html

[3] Ye, Yonglie. (March 6, 2005). Secrets Between the Book of Jiang Zemin Biography and Me. Asianweek. http://www.yzzk.com/cfm/content_archive.cfm?id=1368156844262&docissue=2005-10