||Jiang Zemin was re-elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
(CPC) at the First Plenary Session of the15th CPC Central Committee following the last CPC
National Congressin this century.
His re-election as head of the world's largest ruling party with 58 million members is
viewed as the measure of the confidence of the Chinese people he enjoys.
Over the past eight years when Jiang served as the top leader of the Party, China has been
in a period featuring "most stable political situation, the strongest national
strength, the most active diplomatic activities and the most remarkable improvement in the
people's life," said a local analyst.
Overseas press commented that the prestige of CPC's third generation leadership is just
the kind of prestige that could be expected from a country where economy has registered
double-digits growth for more than a decade.
Jiang officially took over the post of Party General Secretary in June, 1989 when China
faced great difficulties, politically,economically and diplomatically.
In just two years, Jiang succeeded in bringing about big changes in the situation. The GNP
grew steadily at an average annual rate of 12.1 percent, the fastest in the world.
Jiang was elected President of the People's Republic of China in March 1993 and continued
to serve for another term as Chairman of the Central Military Commission. His status as
the core of the leadership is attributable to his outstanding achievements, ability and a
steady and down-to-earth style of work.
Born on August 17, 1926, of an intellectual family in Yangzhou, a culturally famous city
in east China's Jiangsu Province,Jiang received his higher education in the prestigious
Shanghai Jiaotong University and his major was electrical engineering.
Both his grandfather and father were noted local scholars.
During his college years, Jiang participated in the CPC-led students movements and joined
the Communist Party of China in 1946.
After the founding of New China, Jiang served as associate engineer, deputy director of a
factory, section head of an enterprise. In 1955, He went to the then Soviet Union and
worked in the Stalin Automobile Works as a trainee for one year. After his return home,he
served as deputy division head, deputy chief power engineer, director of a branch factory,
and deputy director, director of factories and research institutes in Changchun, Shanghai
In the ensuing years, Jiang served as deputy,then director of foreign affairs department
of the No. 1 Ministry of Machine-Building Industry. He speaks good English, Russian and
Romanian, and knows some Japanese and French.
Before he became Shanghai Mayor in 1985, Jiang served as minister of Electronics Industry.
His unique career experiences have enabled him to observe and solve problems from
the perspectives of profound relations between China and the world.
Jiang was the first planner of Shenzhen, China's first special economic zone (SEZ). In
1979 when the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping proposed to build SEZs in China, Jiang was
the first to settle concrete matters in Shenzhen on behalf of the central government. He
was then serving as deputy director and concurrently secretary general of the State Import
and Export Administration and the State Foreign Investment Administration. Facing the
wilderness, Jiang put forward his guiding ideas that had a far-reaching effect on
Shenzhen's construction in the following years. "All construction projects in the SEZ
should be started from a long-term point of view and in line with international
standards." The development of Shenzhen over the past 10 years and more has testified
to 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 the
city's subway, Nanpu Bridge, polluted water treatment, airport expansion and
program-controlled telephone exchanges. People are stunned by the profound changes that
have taken place in Shanghai.
Jiang was elected member of the 12th CPC Central Committee in September of 1982. In
November, 1987, Jiang was elected memberof the Political Bureau at the First Plenary
Session of the 13th CPC Central Committee. He was elected member of the Standing Committee
of the Political Bureau in June of 1989 at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 13th Central
Committee, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. Five months later, he was
elected chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission at the Fifth Plenary Session of
the 13th Central Committee. At the Third Session of the Seventh National People's
Congress, he was elected chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's
Republic of China (PRC). At the first Plenary Session of the 14th Central Committee, he
was re-elected member of its Central Committee, member of the Political Bureau, memberof
its Standing Committee, general secretary of CPC's Central Committee and at the Eighth
National People's Congress held in March, 1993, he was elected president of the PRC and
chairman of the Central Military Commission.
During the past eight years, what he always puts high on his agenda is grain, cotton,
edible oil and vegetable productionand supply, all closely related to the people's daily
life. "Any reform should benefit the majority of the people and it should be carried
out within the capacity of the people to bear upon," he often said. Thanks to the
implementation of these principles, the thorny reforms of the country's public finance,
taxation, monetary and investment systems have been going on smoothly without sharp
Over the past eight years, Jiang toured almost all provinces, autonomous regions and
municipalities except Taiwan. What he is concerned with most is the life of the people in
poor and remote areas where ethnic groups live. He initiated the ambitious anti-poverty
campaign in 1992, vowing to eradicate poverty before the end of the century.Thanks to the
intensified efforts, China's population under the poverty line 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 1987 when he was still Shanghai mayor, he initialed a bi-monthly seminar
with scholars in the theoretical circle in Shanghai. Each time he would raise a hot or
sensitive or difficult issue for the experts and scholars he invited to discuss.
Jiang stresses national self-esteem, self-confidence,national dignity and the cohesion of
the Chinese nation. Jiang is highly accomplished in classic Chinese literature and often
quotes ancient poems off-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 spare time to reading the latest science
books. He also loves to read Mark Twain.Sources close to him said Jiang could recite the
monologue of "To be or not to be" in Hamlet and "Ode to the West Wind"
by Shelley. In his last official tour of Russia, his analysis of the literary masterpieces
by Leo Tolstoy and other Russian authors surprised the Russian guides.
Wang Yeping, his wife, graduated from the Shanghai Foreign Languages Institute and used to
be head of an electrical engineering research institute in Shanghai. Now she has retired.
The couple have two sons. Jiang Mianheng, the eldest, obtained his doctor's degree in
electronic engineering in the United States. After returning to Shanghai, he has been
appointed director of the Shanghai Metallurgical Research Institute. Their younger son,
Jiang Miankang, studied in Germany for a while after finishing Shanghai No. 2 University
of Engineering. Now he is a researcher of software at the Shanghai Underground Pipeline