I was less than impressed by the other writeup in this node, so I'm going to add in some real information. Oh, I just read Open letter to Jiang Zemin. It was extremely hilarious, especially the bit about "His Holiness". ROTFL. Considering the fact that Jiang Zemin singlehandedly removed the real "nasty-nasty", Li Peng, from his former seat of power, I don't know how nine9 came to that conclusion, not to mention the fact that he currently leads the reformist faction. But I digress. . . . . .

Jiang joined the CCP in 1946 and graduated from Jiaotong University in Shanghai the following year with a degree in electrical engineering. He worked in several factories as an engineer before receiving further technical training in the Soviet Union in 1955. He subsequently headed technological research institutes in various parts of China. In 1980 Jiang became vice-minister of the state commission on imports and exports. Two years later he became vice-minister of the electronics industry and from 1983 to 1985 was its minister. He had meanwhile become a member of the Central Committee of the CCP in 1982. Named mayor of Shanghai in 1985, he joined the Political Bureau in 1987.

Jiang's silent support of the government's suppression of the June Fourth Movement in the summer of 1989 won him the favor of China's paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping. When the Chinese leadership was reshuffled following the suppression of the democracy movement, Jiang succeeded Zhao Ziyang as general secretary of the CCP. He then shifted his stance from semi-hardliner to reform. In 1989 he succeeded Deng as chairman of the party's Central Military Commission and in 1993 became president of the National People's Congress.

With Deng's death in 1997, Jiang became paramount leader and consolidated his power. He began to reduce the state's ownership and control of some of China's 300,000 industries, beginning with a privatization plan in 1997. During the late 1990s Jiang attempted to improve the country's uneasy relationship with the United States. In 1997 he participated in the first U.S.-China summit in almost a decade and at a follow-up meeting in 1998 openly discussed his human rights record.

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