Zhu Rongji

Zhu Rongji speech, newly revealed, likely aimed at leadership summit

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 August, 2013, 4:00am

An excerpt from a forthcoming book has made public for the first time a speech by ex-premier Zhu Rongji in which he praises former president Jiang Zemin.

Its appearance is likely aimed at the leaders meeting at the seaside resort of Beidaihe, where they are hammering out differences ahead of policy meetings in the autumn, one observer said. Jiang made a rare public endorsement of President Xi Jinping last month, and the speech may be intended to show unity among the older guard.

The People's Publishing House will on Monday release a collection of speeches Zhu gave as mayor of Shanghai between 1987 and 1991. The People's Daily website yesterday ran excerpts, which were picked up by major mainland portals.

In one excerpt, Zhu said Jiang, who preceded him as mayor, was an experienced leader not only capable of handling pressure but also considerate to subordinates. "Compared to my predecessors, especially to comrade Jiang Zemin, I am far less capable," Zhu said.

"I was too hasty at work and too harsh on subordinates. On that I have many things to learn from comrade Jiang Zemin."

The release of the speech came about two weeks after Jiang publicly endorsed Xi during a meeting with former US secretary of state Dr Henry Kissinger.

Zhang Lifan , a mainland-based political commentator, said it appeared timed for the Beidaihe gathering.

Political elders sought to assert their influence on the appointment of new leaders last year. When Jiang did not express his opinion openly, Zhu often spoke for him, Zhang said.

"The elders might want to show that they are united," he said. "And that they agreed with Jiang's praise of Xi last month."

Also yesterday, the Shanghai-based Jiefang Daily published a story praising Central Military Commission chairmen and highlighting Jiang's move in banning the PLA from engaging in business. It said the step was crucial in curbing corruption in the army.