Zhu Rongji
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Qinghua clique boosts Zhu's political status

Zhu Rongji

A SEMI-OFFICIAL news agency has boosted the political fortune of Vice-Premier Mr Zhu Rongji by revealing for the first time his status as the de facto head of the Qinghua Faction.

The Chinese Communist Party has never admitted that there are factions within itself.

In a dispatch yesterday entitled There Are Many Qinghua [University] Graduates in Chinese Politics, however, the China News Service (CNS) has in effect given official recognition to such a faction.

The agency revealed that 29 full or alternate members of the new Central Committee were alumnae of the elite Beijing institution, which is most famous for its engineering departments.

Distinguished graduates of Qinghua range from conservatives such as former politburo members Mr Song Ping and Mr Li Ximing to liberals like Vice-Premier Mr Zhu and Sichuan Governor Mr Xiao Yang.

However, the focus of the CNS dispatch was that moderates led by Mr Zhu had dominated the faction.

The agency revealed that since graduating from Qinghua with top honours in 1947, Mr Zhu had maintained a very close relationship with his alma mater.

For example, in 1984, Mr Zhu, then a vice-minister at the State Economic Commission, was named concurrently head of Qinghua's Faculty of Economic Management.

CNS said Mr Zhu had kept the position till now, and that even during his tenure as Shanghai mayor, he had taken on doctoral students in the faculty.

''Zhu Rongji's English standards are very high, and he can give his lessons in fluent English,'' the agency said.

Other notable members of the Qinghua clique who have reputations of being liberals or moderates include members of the politburo Standing Committee Mr Hu Jintao, Guangdong Governor Mr Zhu Senlin, Shanghai mayor Mr Huangju, Jiangxi Governor Mr Wu Guanzheng, and the newly-elected Governor of Guizhou province, Mr Chen Shineng.

Analysts said in matters of ideology and practice, the Qinghua Faction was diametrically opposite to the Faction of the Alumnae of East Bloc Universities.

The latter group, which consists of senior cadres who studied in the Soviet Union or Eastern Europe in the late 1950s, is headed by Premier Mr Li Peng.

The analysts said Mr Zhu and Mr Li were vying for the position of premier, which would be endorsed at the upcoming National People's Congress.