Reading between a leader's lines

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 October, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 October, 2002, 12:00am

Mr Jiang has used a classical Chinese poem to send a message that despite the confusion surrounding China's leadership changes, the transition has already been decided and he is above the fray.

Quoting two lines of Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai's Through the Yangzi Gorges, he said:

'Yet monkeys are still calling on both banks behind me

'To my boat these ten thousand mountains away.'

Some analysts said Mr Jiang might also be referring to former US president George Bush, who travelled to the Yangtze Gorges 25 years ago when he was ambassador to China.

Others believed the lines were a pun referring to strained Sino-US ties under the presidency of Mr Bush's son.