President Jiang Zemin is set to give a major internal speech on the need to push forward with political reforms. A source in Beijing said yesterday that Mr Jiang wanted to establish his credentials as a leader who could 'continue and develop' reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping. The address will be given to an audience of party cadres before Mr Jiang visits Russia and Japan next month. 'The speech will be a forerunner of the address Jiang will give at a big ceremony in December marking the 20th anniversary of the beginning of reform,' the source said. 'Jiang wants to test reactions from different factions of the party.' The President would touch on the possibility of expanding village-level elections, which were seen as Beijing's commitment to developing full democracy, the source said. Some of the President's advisers, including academics from Shanghai, had urged him to hold elections at the level of xiang, or aggregate villages, in a few years. Mr Jiang would also outline concrete steps to boost popular supervision of civil servants and cadres, including ways to improve the anti-corruption drive. There would also be new initiatives to promote rule by law at central and local levels. However, more radical ideas proposed by advisers, including reserving several senior PLA posts for civilians, would not be mentioned. 'The speech is important because Jiang is expected to use the term 'political reform' whereas in the past he tended to stick to the safer term of 'administrative restructuring',' a retired cadre said. 'However, Jiang does not want to arouse unrealistic expectations. He is afraid too much democracy may lead to social instability caused by elements including laid-off workers.' Meanwhile, an army source in Beijing said the campaign to eradicate PLA businesses and to stop smuggling by military units would take a long time. For example, large PLA business units had been given three years to convert themselves into civilian entities, the source said. And the provinces of Sichuan and Guangdong had been designated 'pace-setter units' in carrying out anti-smuggling and anti-graft work among PLA units. Such operations would be waged in other provinces and cities later this year and next, the source said.