Jiang Zemin

Jiang had his sights on academic role ... until June 4

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2011, 12:00am


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A video clip showing Jiang Zemin recounting how he became the general secretary of the Communist Party at a critical time in 1989 became an instant hit among internet users over the weekend.

Jiang (pictured), who was filmed in 2009 while on a tour of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, was seen gesturing in a suit to a corporate group, before launching into a four-minute monologue about the national mission, his personal fate and his life achievements.

Had it not been for the June 4 incident in that tumultuous year, he said he could have retired as party chief of Shanghai to become a university professor, as he had planned. Jiang, 63 at the time, said he had received a teaching offer from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where he graduated in 1947.

He said he had no idea he would be made the national party chief. 'Human beings can't foresee their own fates,' he said.

His new assignment was given by Deng Xiaoping, paramount leader at the time. When Jiang was told he was to replace Zhao Ziyang, the then party chief who was purged for showing empathy towards the student protesters, Jiang was reluctant to take the position, according to the footage.

In the video he recalled telling Deng: 'Please ask someone else who is more competent for the job. I am not being modest, but I am just a Shanghai party chief, so how can I cope with Beijing?'