Speculating on Jiang Zemin

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Speculation on the health of a former leader offers an interesting insight into censorship in China and the insecurities of the Communist Party.

Since earlier today, reports from sources in China say that Internet searches tied to the health of former President Jiang Zemin are being blocked, with some users being greeted with a message saying that the search is illegal.

There has been considerable speculation in recent months over the health of Jiang, 84, talk that was fanned further by his failure to appear publicly during official celebrations last week marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party.

The Washington Post notes, for example, that on popular microblog Sina.com that ‘searches were blocked for terms including “301,” the name of the Beijing military hospital where China’s top leaders are treated. Also blocked was Jiang’s name, which means “river” in Chinese, as well as terms like “brain death” and “brain dead.”’

State media so far hasn’t reported on the rumours. However, AP notes that one Hong Kong TV station, citing unnamed sources, reported that Jiang had actually died.

Jiang is still a towering figure in Chinese politics, despite having officially retired long ago, for a number of reasons. For a start, he is widely seen as still wielding considerable influence, including promoting the rise of President Hu Jintao’s likely successor, Xi Jinping.

Jiang spent 13 years in the Communist Party’s top job, taking up the role shortly after the Tiananmen Square crackdown and gradually helping steer China back from international isolation, most notably with the 1997 US-China summit – the first between the two countries in almost a decade.

Comments
6
Leonard R.
July 8, 2011 at 13:09

@Zheng: “It is true that China’s relations with its neighbors are worse now than when Jiang left office. However, this is more a result of China’s growing economic and political power than Hu’s mismanagement.”
**

Excellent. So as long as things are getting better, they can only get worse. If China continues to grow, the world can expect more problems.

I agree.

Zheng
July 8, 2011 at 11:22

It is true that China’s relations with its neighbors are worse now than when Jiang left office. However, this is more a result of China’s growing economic and political power than Hu’s mismanagement.

Duke Chan
July 8, 2011 at 05:30

Only John Chan can give us the truth inside information.

Leonard R.
July 7, 2011 at 14:57

This is a very interesting story. But the man is 84 years old.
It’s not surprising he’s in poor health. What is surprising are the
weird search phrase blockages.

That leads to information processing in reverse. A phrase is blocked. Therefore, it must be important enough to block. If it’s important enough to block, there must be something to it. That’s ‘lack of information’ processing logic.

When Jiang left office, China had good relations with the US and with
with most of its neighbors. Hu Jintao will leave a series of foreign policy disasters and roaring inflation that his successor to have to manage.

I’m betting they can’t be managed.

Reason
July 7, 2011 at 05:31

No smoke without fire….

Mathew
July 6, 2011 at 23:47

i wonder chinese officials killed him or not.. Probably .. yes. If not , why they cover up?

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