DISSENSION has broken out among Communist Party factions over the interpretation of Deng Xiaoping Thought as each tries to use the patriarch's legacy to consolidate its position for the post-Deng era. And, as the health of the patriarch continues to decline, the dominant clique led by President Jiang Zemin has put on a show of force against political foes on both the left and right. The Chinese press yesterday reported a major conference on the study of the third volume of Deng Xiaoping's Selected Works. While scores of such seminars had been held since the volume's publication a year ago, the organisers of this session were unusually numerous and high-powered. They included the Propaganda Department, the Central Party School, the Central Archives' Research office, the State Education Commission, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the army's General Political Department. The official media surprised political analysts in the capital by pointing out the conference was 'authorised by the central leadership of the party'. This was seen as an oblique reference to the many seminars on Deng Thought by the leftist and rightist factions which did not bear Mr Jiang's imprimatur. During the session, which was attended by several Politburo members, Politburo Standing Committee member Hu Jintao and Propaganda Chief Ding Guan'gen stressed the importance of using Deng Thought to unify the country. The analysts said the point of the meeting had been to show the other factions that Mr Jiang and his followers had the support of various sectors, including the army. The leftists, or remnant Maoists, have in the past months held numerous conferences on Deng Thought to push their conservative agenda. This is despite the fact their interpretation of Mr Deng's instructions were at variance with his market-reform and 'thought-liberation' teachings. In spite of warnings from the Deng household, the leftist ideologues have continued to publish anti-reformist articles in journals such as Zhongliu (Mainstream), In Search of Truth, and Chinese Social Sciences. The latest issue of Zhongliu carried a piece justifying Mao Zedong's leftist policies in the decade before the Cultural Revolution. Meanwhile, Mr Jiang's allies have started to weed out rightists, or 'bourgeois' elements, from the social sciences academy, seen as a bastion of liberal opinion. Xinhua (the New China News Agency) reported last night that a major reorganisation had taken place in the ministerial-level body. Departments including history, philosophy and literature, 'will not be encouraged to expand', Xinhua said.