Former president Jiang Zemin’s son endorses ‘Chinese Dream’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 3:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 3:07pm

The son of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin mentioned Xi Jinping’s concept of a “Chinese Dream” during a rare high-profile speech on Monday, an act interpreted by some as an attempt to rally support for China’s new leader.

“In order to accomplish the Chinese Dream, China needs to adopt a new national strategy that relies on innovation to propel developments,” said Jiang Mianheng, President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Shanghai branch, in a speech on the first day of term at the newly established ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai Evening Post reported on Tuesday.

Speaking to a group of over 300 graduate students and professors, Jiang also called on students to make achieving the Chinese dream a life-long mission.

The “Chinese Dream” is a term coined by Xi’s administration that is officially defined as a dream “to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.

But critics say Xi has failed to explain how to put the dream into practice and that it could result in aggressive nationalist foreign policy in the future.

Jiang Mianheng, 62, is the elder son of Jiang Zemin who was president of China between 1993 and 2003. Some online users see Jiang’s remarks as being supportive of Xi’s administration, as senior Chinese officials often like to send veiled messages in their speeches to endorse or denounce their political rivals.

Jiang Zemin in July called Xi “a capable and wise national leader” when he held informal talks with visiting former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger in Shanghai. Many experts viewed this as an indication of his support for the new leader. However, Jiang did not mention Xi’s “Chinese Dream” on that occasion.

Jiang Mianheng earned a doctoral degree from Drexel University in the United States in the 1990s before he was appointed vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences responsible for hi-tech research and development.

Jiang has also served on the boards of directors of several hi-tech companies and overseen state-backed investment vehicles with major interests in telecommunications, semiconductor and construction projects, according to The New York Times.

The Times last year alleged that Jiang Mianheng, along with relatives of other Party leaders, had used family ties to achieve personal financial gain. The report said he benefited financially from Hollywood studio DreamWorks Animation’s US$330 million (HK$2.6 billion) deal to create a Shanghai animation studio.