Former president Jiang Zemin has had yet another book published in a sign that he's still wielding influence ahead of next year's key Communist Party congress.
In a symposium held in Shanghai to mark the release of the new book - Jiang Zemin in Shanghai, 1985-1989 - on Tuesday, Shanghai party boss Yu Zhengsheng praised Jiang's role in the development of Shanghai during his four years as its mayor and later party secretary between 1985 and 1989, the People's Liberation Army Daily reported.
Hong Kong-based veteran watcher of mainland politics Johnny Lau Yui-siu said yesterday that the function was a reflection of Jiang's determination to have an influence on the personnel reshuffle of top leaders at the 18th party congress.
'It is conspicuous that Jiang wants to be in the limelight and show that he is still on the country's political stage, so as to secure a pole position for his son after the party congress next year,' Lau said. Jiang had spared no effort in grabbing the chance to remind people of his 'existence' over the years, including some tours and gatherings with party elders. The book launch was at least the second boost for Jiang's public profile in the past month.
In late May, Jiang reportedly welcomed the visiting North Korean leader Kim Jong-il with a banquet in his hometown of Yangzhou in Jiangsu province, which signified the political influence still wielded by Jiang, who stepped down as party general secretary in 2002 and president in 2003.
However, Professor Hu Xingdou, of the Beijing Institute of Technology, said yesterday that the endorsement of Jiang reflected the views of people within and outside the party hoping for further economic reform.
'It is against a background at the moment that many people believe the reform has died down in the country. That's why some people come out and called for reform.'