THE Chinese media and leading politicians have celebrated President Jiang Zemin's status as a theoretician in the mode of Chairman Mao and patriarch Deng Xiaoping. This coincides with a campaign to build a 'spiritual civilisation' based on Mr Jiang's principles. Before returning to Beijing at the weekend after his trip to the United States, Mr Jiang spent two days in Shanghai. It is believed he gave instructions on building 'material' and 'spiritual' civilisations. Since early this year, Mr Jiang, a former party boss of Shanghai, has slowed the pace of transferring Shanghai-affiliated politicians to Beijing. However, he still regards the metropolis as his power base and the foundation of new ideas for running the country. The press quoted Vice-Premier Qian Qichen, travelling with Mr Jiang, as praising the role of Shanghai as China's 'dragonhead'. Mr Qian pointed out that Shanghai's progress was due to 'Deng Xiaoping's theoretical guidance on building socialism with Chinese characteristics and the leadership of the party centre with Jiang Zemin as its core'. Last week, the head of the Propaganda Department, Ding Guan'gen, called a meeting in Shanghai on the construction of a spiritual civilisation. The ideological campaign would be based on Mr Jiang's 1994 instructions about 'arming people with scientific theories . . . and moulding people with lofty spirits'. 'Ding and his department have been out of the limelight,' a Shanghai source said. 'The propagandists have been given a new mandate of playing up Jiang's theories on governing China in the post-Deng era.' Yesterday, the People's Daily carried an editorial highlighting Mr Jiang's speech on China's view of the world order, which he delivered at the United Nations earlier last week. The party mouthpiece underscored his status as 'the first Chinese head of state to be at the UN headquarters in New York' and to have addressed the world body. Mr Jiang first laid claim to the stature of a Mao-like theoretician when he delivered a speech on the '12 important relationships' in the country at the fifth party Central Committee plenum in late September. Analysts point out, however, that compared with Mao's 1956 speech on the '10 important relationships', Mr Jiang's address has not been as frequently cited by senior cadres. Leaders of the party's moderate and liberal camps have refused to go along with what Mr Jiang's critics have called efforts to build up his personality cult.