Born in 1926 in Yangzhou, Jiangsu, Jiang Zemin graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University with a degree in electronic engineering, and rose up in state-owned factories and government agencies overseeing industries. He was promoted to China's top power bench soon after the bloody crackdown on student movement in Beijing in 1989, becoming general secretary of the Party and chairman of its Central Military Commission. He became president in 1993. He held on to the military chief job for two more years even after handing Party leadership and presidency to successor Hu Jintao in 2002-2003. He is believed to still wield massive influence on Chinese politics a decade after his retirement.
Science king in Jiang's vision
Willy Wo-Lap Lam
PRESIDENT Jiang Zemin held a high-profile meeting with six world-famous scientists yesterday and reaffirmed the policy of reinvigorating the nation through science and technology.
'China will implement the strategy of reinvigorating the nation through science and education and the strategy of sustainable development,' Xinhua quoted Mr Jiang as saying at the seaside resort of Beidaihe.
'China will also establish and improve innovation systems, train talented people, actively employ overseas talent and improve the scientific and cultural level of the entire Chinese nation.'
There were five Nobel laureates: physicists Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee and Samuel C. C. Ting and chemists Rudolph A. Marcus and Hartmut Michel. Also present was renowned mathematician Shing-Tung Yau.
'A major question which should be solved in the 21st century is to establish and improve scientific ethics, respect and protect intellectual property rights and guide scientific and technological research and application to accord with the common interests of people all over the world,' the President said.
But Mr Jiang issued a warning against the Internet revolution. 'The Internet can swiftly and broadly convey a wealth of useful information but contains a lot of useless and false information as well,' he said. 'How to distinguish what is true and what is distorted information on the Net is also difficult.'
A source close to the Beidaihe meetings said the annual series of leadership conferences was due to start early this week.
He said Mr Jiang made the unusual gesture of seeing the scientists in Beidaihe to underline his commitment to modernisation.
The source added the emphasis on science was in accordance with a key slogan that Mr Jiang was pushing, that the Communist Party must be 'representative' of the foremost technological, cultural and economic forces of the day.