Jiang Zemin

Jiang's great leap forward

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 January, 1997, 12:00am

Welcome, Jiang Zemin , President of the People's Republic of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party, to the ranks of the great and the good.

You may wonder why you should suddenly have won favour at this delicate moment in world history.

We cannot answer that. Perhaps you have only now found the time to return the form and questionnaire.

But whatever the reason, we feel the world should know that you have at last received an entry in the UK edition of Who's Who.

Those of us who have preferred to remain ex-directory in Who's Who over the years will be sorry to lose you. Never mind. Though you will no longer be one of us, you will still be in relatively good company.

Joining you as first-timers in the 149th edition will be the British stand-up comedians Alexei Sayle and Ruby Wax and record-producer Pete Waterman.

Come to think of it, that may be the reason you have finally made it into this increasingly show-business minded bible of the British Establishment. After your karaoke session at APEC in the Philippines last year, your talents to entertain have at last been recognised.

More curiously timed are some calendars we found for sale on the streets of Sha Tin. We did not track down the whole set. But on the covers of serial numbers C07 to C10 are portraits of Chinese patriarch Deng Xiaoping , Chris Patten, and former governors Lord Wilson and Lord MacLehose.

One wonders how many patriots rushed to buy the pictures of governors past.

Legislative Council president Andrew Wong Wang-fat seems to have managed his tightrope act so far. Despite calls for him to step down to avoid a conflict of interest as he runs for provisional legislature president, he claims he can balance the two roles.

But he might have to step aside temporarily on January 14, when Legco debates Leong Che-hung's anti-smoking motion.

This is a subject in which chain-smoker Wheezer Wong really cannot claim to be disinterested.

Talking of balance, here is one from the other lot. Provisional Legislators are looking for a temporary convenor to run their first meeting later this month while they select a president.

One option is to stick a pin in the list of members at random; another is to take candidates in alphabetical order.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong's Ip Kwok-him has at least made it clear who he feels it should not be: the member whose Chinese name has the least number of brush-strokes.

(Quick scramble while reporters rush to find out who's been black-balled). It turns out the member with the least is the Liberal Democratic Foundation's Wong Siu-yee, who last year went on radio to suggest it was right to sacrifice a few people on June 4, 1989 for the sake of the stability of China.

We seem to remember reporting that taxi-drivers in the queue outside the station afterwards refused his fare.