We republish below a profile of the late Chinese leader Comrade Jiang Zemin, originally issued by the Xinhua News Agency, which illustrates and explains the deep respect and affection that the Chinese people hold for this outstanding communist, patriot and internationalist, whose revolutionary career spanned very nearly eight decades.
Much of the information contained here was already covered in the official Chinese letter announcing Comrade Jiang’s passing, which we have already reported. However, there is also much new material, some of which has never appeared in English before.
The article notes a young Jiang Zemin’s contribution to the war to resist US aggression and aid Korea:
“To boost efforts to resist US aggression and aid Korea, Jiang organized the production of canned food specially provided for the Chinese People’s Volunteers. He also oversaw the design of the first homegrown turbo-generator in New China.”
Highlighting his creative application and development of Marxism-Leninism in the evolving situation in China and the world, it states:
“On learning lessons from the demise of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern European countries, and the Cultural Revolution in China, Jiang stressed the importance of adhering to socialism, and carrying out socialist reform to explore a path of socialist development that suits China’s actual conditions.”
The now rapidly developing and expanding Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was to a great extent a creation of Jiang:
“Jiang promoted the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the first regional cooperation organization set up with China’s participation and named after a Chinese city. The Shanghai Spirit championed by the SCO – mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development – has exerted an important influence on contemporary international relations.”
And he stayed true to some of the finest traditions of the Chinese revolution:
“He said the biggest danger for the Party when it becomes the ruling party is its detachment from the masses and that resolutely opposing and preventing corruption is a major political task for the whole Party. Underscoring the importance of adhering to the Party’s mass line, he demanded the Party do everything for the people while relying on the people in every task. He asked officials at all levels to bear in mind the purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly and doing practical and good things for them.”
One thing not covered in this article, which we would like to reference, is Jiang Zemin’s relationship to Ireland and Ireland’s special contribution to China’s development. The Shannon Free Zone, established in 1959, was the world’s first free trade zone. In 1980, Jiang Zemin led a Chinese government delegation to study and learn from its experience and, in many respects, it was used as a model for China’s early development of special economic zones, which have played such a crucial role in the country’s development. Shannon has continued to be visited by senior Chinese delegations over the years.
Jiang Zemin was an outstanding leader enjoying high prestige acknowledged by the whole Communist Party of China (CPC), the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups.
He was a great Marxist and a great proletarian revolutionary, statesman, military strategist and diplomat. He was a long-tested communist fighter and an outstanding leader of the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. He was the core of the third generation of the Party’s central collective leadership and the principal founder of the Theory of Three Represents.
Jiang’s life was a glorious and fighting one. During his revolutionary career of more than 70 years, he remained unswervingly firm in communist ideals, utterly loyal to the Party and the people, and resolutely committed to the cause of the Party and the people.
After the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee, faced with the complexity of the domestic and international situations and the grave challenges posed by the serious twists and turns world socialism had experienced, Jiang led the Party’s central collective leadership — firmly relying on the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups — in safeguarding the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and successfully advancing the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics into the 21st century.
He made indelible achievements and won the heartfelt love of the whole Party, the entire military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, as well as the wide acclaim of the international community.
On Aug. 17, 1926, Jiang was born into a patriotic intellectual family in Yangzhou, east China’s Jiangsu Province. He was enlightened by patriotism and the ideas of the democratic revolution in his childhood. He was also deeply influenced by fine traditional Chinese culture.
In 1943, Jiang was admitted to the Electrical Machinery Department of the then Nanjing-based Central University, where he actively participated in patriotic anti-Japanese movements of progressive students. After China won the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, Jiang continued his education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. In April 1946, he joined the CPC and became a communist fighter.
After graduating from the university in 1947, Jiang worked at a food factory in Shanghai. During this period, he engaged in revolutionary publicity-related work among workers and young professionals at night schools under youth associations.
Shortly after the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, Jiang served successively as first deputy director of Shanghai Yimin Food No. 1 Factory, first deputy director of Shanghai Soap Factory, and chief of the electrical machinery section of Shanghai No. 2 Design Division of the First Ministry of Machine-Building Industry.
To boost efforts to resist U.S. aggression and aid Korea, Jiang organized the production of canned food specially provided for the Chinese People’s Volunteers. He also oversaw the design of the first homegrown turbo-generator in New China.
In September 1954, Jiang was transferred to Changchun to participate in the construction of First Automotive Works. In April 1955, he went to the Stalin Automobile Works in Moscow for an internship. He returned to China in May 1956 and continued his work at the First Automotive Works, serving as deputy chief of the dynamic mechanics division, deputy chief engineer for dynamic mechanics, and director of the power factory.
In 1962, he worked as deputy director of the Shanghai Electrical Apparatus Research Institute under the First Ministry of Machine-Building Industry, in charge of the organization’s research work.
In May 1966, he worked as director and acting Party secretary of the Wuhan Heat-Power Machinery Institute, where he became the Party secretary in September and organized the design of atomic power generation equipment.
In late 1970, he started to work in the First Ministry of Machine-Building Industry. In 1971, he headed the ministry’s expert team to Romania, where he oversaw the construction of 11 China-aided factories.
After returning to China in 1973, he served as deputy director of the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the First Ministry of Machine-Building Industry and later became the bureau’s director.
In 1980, Jiang began to serve as vice-chairman and concurrently secretary-general of the State Administration Commission on Import and Export Affairs and the State Administration Commission on Foreign Investment and a member of the Leading Party Members Groups of the two commissions.
He was involved in the formulation of policies on expanding foreign trade, introducing advanced foreign technologies and equipment, and absorbing and utilizing foreign capital. He also oversaw the implementation of special policies and flexible measures in Guangdong and Fujian provinces and participated in the establishment of special economic zones.
In May 1982, he was appointed first vice-minister and deputy secretary of the Leading Party Members Group of the Ministry of Electronics Industry, and then minister and secretary of the Leading Party Members Group of the ministry in 1983.
He led the restructuring and technological transformation of the electronics industry, and pushed ahead the R&D and production of key projects concerning integrated circuits, computers, communications, and system engineering.
In September 1982, Jiang was elected member of the CPC Central Committee at the 12th CPC National Congress.
In 1985, he began to serve as mayor of Shanghai and deputy secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPC. In 1987, he was appointed secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPC.
Jiang focused on the central task of economic development and made every effort to promote the reform, development and stability of Shanghai. He put forward the goal of building Shanghai into a socialist modern city that is open, multifunctional, industrially well-structured, scientifically and technologically advanced, and culturally advanced by the end of the 20th century.
In November 1987, Jiang was elected member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee at the first plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee.
In June 1989, Jiang was elected member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and general secretary of the CPC Central Committee at the fourth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee.
In November 1989, the fifth plenary session of the 13th CPC Central Committee decided on Jiang serving as chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the CPC. In March 1990, Jiang was elected chairman of the CMC of the PRC at the third session of the 7th National People’s Congress.
At the 14th CPC National Congress in October 1992, Jiang delivered a report titled “Accelerating the Reform, the Opening to the Outside World and the Drive for Modernization, so as to Achieve Greater Successes in Building Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.” In the report, Jiang proposed establishing the guiding role of Deng Xiaoping’s theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics in the Party, and identified establishing a socialist market economy as a goal of China’s economic reforms.
In March 1993, Jiang was elected president of the PRC.
In September 1997, Jiang delivered a report titled “Hold High the Great Banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory for an All-round Advancement of the Cause of Building Socialism with Chinese Characteristics into the 21st Century” to the 15th National Congress of the CPC. It was made clear in the report that a basic economic system for the country’s primary stage of socialism is one in which public ownership is the mainstay and diverse forms of ownership develop together.
At the 16th CPC National Congress in November 2002, Jiang presented the report titled “Build a Well-off Society in an All-Round Way and Create a New Situation in Building Socialism with Chinese Characteristics,” which specified the objectives of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and stipulated the basic requirement in implementing the Theory of Three Represents.
The Theory of Three Represents enriches and develops the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and serves as a continuation, enrichment and development of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory.
Jiang stressed that it is essential for the Party to give top priority to development in governing and rejuvenating the country.
Noting that development is of paramount importance and that this strategic concept needs to be always upheld, Jiang said confidence is derived from prosperity while backwardness makes a country vulnerable to attack.
Jiang pointed out that building socialism with Chinese characteristics should embody comprehensive economic, political and cultural development, which will see comprehensive socialist material and political progress, as well as cultural-ethical advancement.
Jiang also stressed that it is imperative to properly handle the relationship between reform, development and stability, as reform is the impetus, development is the goal and stability is the precondition.
At the 16th CPC National Congress, Jiang expounded on the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way.
In the first two decades of the 21st century, efforts should be concentrated on fully building a moderately prosperous society of a higher standard for the benefit of well over 1 billion people, he said.
Jiang said that China would have to further develop the economy, expand democracy, advance science and education, enrich its culture, foster social harmony, and raise people’s living standards.
On the fundamental task of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Jiang said that it is necessary to give top priority to concentrating on the development of productive forces, thus continuously promoting the development of advanced productive forces.
Entrepreneurs and technicians of private sci-tech enterprises, managerial and technical personnel employed by foreign-funded enterprises, the self-employed, private business owners, employees of intermediaries, freelancers and people from other social strata that have emerged in social transformation are all builders of socialism with Chinese characteristics, he noted.
Jiang also proposed the vigorous promotion of knowledge-based innovation, as well as scientific and technological innovation.
On learning lessons from the demise of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern European countries, and the Cultural Revolution in China, Jiang stressed the importance of adhering to socialism, and carrying out socialist reform to explore a path of socialist development that suits China’s actual conditions.
In the 1990s, with the tremendous courage of a Chinese communist to persist in making theoretical innovation and keeping pace with the times, Jiang defined building a socialist market economy as an objective of reform and set a basic framework in this regard. He also led the establishment of a basic economic system for the primary stage of socialism under which public ownership is the mainstay and diverse forms of ownership develop together, as well as an income distribution system under which distribution according to work is the mainstay while multiple forms of distribution exist alongside it. All these efforts helped break new ground in reform and opening-up in all respects.
To achieve development, progress and prosperity, Jiang said, China must open up to the outside world, promote economic, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges and cooperation with other countries, and embrace and learn from everything advanced.
China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) is necessary for China’s economic development, reform and opening-up, and the WTO also needs China, said Jiang, adding that the WTO without the participation of China, a country then with a population of over 1.2 billion, would be incomplete, which would not be conducive to world economic development.
China became a WTO member in December 2001.
Jiang pointed out that to achieve modernization, the key lies in finding a path of national economic development with relatively fast growth and relatively good economic results, shifting the economic growth mode from extensive to intensive, and maintaining sustained, rapid and healthy development of the national economy.
He proposed a new path to industrialization, driving industrialization with informatization and promoting informatization through industrialization.
The fundamental purpose of economic development is to improve the standard and quality of people’s lives, he said, adding that employment is crucial to people’s well-being.
Jiang stressed that to develop socialist democracy, the most fundamental thing is to uphold the unity of the Party’s leadership, the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance.
He underscored guaranteeing the people’s law-based participation in democratic elections, decision-making, administration and oversight, ensuring that the people enjoy extensive rights and freedoms, and respecting and protecting human rights.
Jiang pointed out that political structural reform is the self-improvement and development of the socialist political system. He stressed the need to base the efforts on China’s actual conditions, summarize China’s practical experience, and learn from other countries’ political achievements instead of blindly copying Western political systems.
On developing socialist culture with Chinese characteristics, Jiang stressed adhering to the goal of serving the people and socialism and the principle of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend, advocating the themes of the times, and promoting diversity.
He underscored closely combining the improvement of the legal system with ethical progress, and combining the rule of law with the rule of virtue.
Jiang put forward many important thoughts on the work of national defense and the people’s armed forces, and established Jiang Zemin’s thinking on strengthening the national defense and armed forces. He underscored following the overall requirements of building politically and militarily competent armed forces with fine conduct, strict discipline and strong logistical support, and focusing on the historical issue of ensuring that the armed forces could fight to win while never degrading in character. He also stressed unswervingly adhering to a Chinese approach of having fewer but better troops, and making them more revolutionary, modern and standardized.
In the 1990s, the CPC Central Committee and the CMC formulated the military strategy of active defense for the new period, and made major changes in the level of strategic guidance, shifting the focal point of military preparedness from handling local wars fought under general conditions to winning local wars fought under technological conditions, especially high-tech conditions. Later, it was further proposed that winning local wars in the information age should be the focal point of military preparedness.
The decision to prohibit military and armed police units, as well as judicial, procuratorial and public security organs from doing business was put forward by Jiang.
On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong returned to its motherland. On Dec. 20, 1999, Macao returned. Jiang went to Hong Kong and Macao to attend the handover ceremonies. The return of Hong Kong and Macao enriched “one country, two systems” in both theory and practice.
Jiang also pushed the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to reach the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle. He also promoted cross-Strait consultations and negotiations.
In a speech titled “Continue to Promote the Reunification of the Motherland” in January 1995, Jiang stressed that adherence to the one-China principle is the basis and premise for peaceful reunification. In not promising to renounce the use of force, we are in no way targeting our Taiwan compatriots, but rather foreign forces conspiring to interfere in China’s reunification and the plots to seek “Taiwan independence,” he said.
Jiang put forward a set of thoughts on foreign affairs and international strategy. He said peace and development remained the themes of our era, adding that China would unswervingly pursue an independent foreign policy of peace with the purpose of safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. He also advocated active actions to build a multi-polar world, promote greater democracy in international relations, respect the diversity of the world and enhance exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations.
Jiang promoted the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the first regional cooperation organization set up with China’s participation and named after a Chinese city.
The Shanghai Spirit championed by the SCO — mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and pursuit of common development — has exerted an important influence on contemporary international relations.
Jiang pointed out that to do a good job of governing the country, the Party must first do a good job of governing itself, and that means governing it strictly.
He put forward the Party’s two historical tasks of both improving its leadership and governance, and reinforcing its ability to resist corruption and withstand risks.
He emphasized that the Party must always be the vanguard of the Chinese working class, the vanguard of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, and the leadership core in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, representing the developmental demands of China’s advanced productive forces, the orientation for China’s advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the Chinese people.
He said the biggest danger for the Party when it becomes the ruling party is its detachment from the masses and that resolutely opposing and preventing corruption is a major political task for the whole Party.
Underscoring the importance of adhering to the Party’s mass line, he demanded the Party do everything for the people while relying on the people in every task.
He asked officials at all levels to bear in mind the purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly and doing practical and good things for them.
He united and led the central collective leadership of the CPC in tackling a series of international emergencies concerning China’s sovereignty and security, overcoming difficulties and risks cropping up in the political and economic spheres and those brought by natural disasters, and in particular successfully coping with the impact of the Asian financial crisis and winning a complete victory in the disaster relief efforts during the floods in 1998.
In September 2004, the fourth plenary session of the 16th CPC Central Committee approved Jiang’s request to retire from the post of chairman of the Party’s Central Military Commission. In March 2005, the second plenary meeting of the third session of the 10th National People’s Congress approved Jiang’s request to retire from the post of chairman of the Central Military Commission of the PRC.
After retiring from leadership posts, Jiang firmly upheld the work of the CPC Central Committee and gave it his support. He showed care for the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and resolutely supported the efforts to improve Party conduct and combat corruption.
Jiang was personally in charge of editing and finalizing the first, second and third volumes of “Selected Works of Jiang Zemin.” These works include the representative and creative works of Jiang from the late 1980s to the beginning of the 21st century.
The Theory of Three Represents founded by Jiang is a guiding ideology the Party must uphold in the long run. It is also a precious intellectual treasure of the Party and the people.
As China embarks on a new journey, the whole Party, the entire military, and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups must follow the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and strive relentlessly for building a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing national rejuvenation on all fronts.