The propaganda campaign surrounding President Jiang Zemin's Theory of the Three Representatives is to run until the end of the year, when it will be announced to be a guiding principle for the new millennium. Beijing's official position is that the millennium does not begin until 2001, and a key task for the Communist Party's ideological specialists is to 'unite the people's thoughts behind Jiang Zemin's Theory' at the threshold of the new era. The national press yesterday played up a speech by Vice-President Hu Jintao which said the Theory of the Three Representatives was 'a potent weapon to enable the party to consolidate and strengthen itself in the new century'. During a tour of Guangdong in the spring, Mr Jiang said the party must be 'representative' of the most advanced production force, of the most advanced culture and of people's interests. Speaking to cadres attending the Central Party School, Mr Hu praised Mr Jiang for his ability to 'clear-headedly recognise and correctly grasp the domestic and foreign situation at the turn of the century and at the threshold of the new millennium'. He added: 'If a Marxist party deviates from the Theory of the Three Representatives, it will make mistakes and suffer setbacks.' A Beijing source said Mr Hu, also principal of the party school, was anxious to preserve his position as heir apparent by pushing the Campaign of the Three Representatives to new heights. Mr Hu, who is a leading contender to take over from Mr Jiang as party general secretary in 2002, was also instrumental in organising the Crusade on the Three Emphases, a reference to Mr Jiang's teachings on studying the Marxist canon, Marxist righteousness and being politically correct. The source said party cadres based in Hong Kong, mainly senior executives with mainland-run companies, had recently taken leaves of absence to go to the Central Party School for short courses on the Three Representatives Theory. He said it was unusual for ideological campaigns to have such a direct impact on party members in the SAR. Earlier this week, bookstores in Beijing began showcasing a 74-page book entitled A Great Programme for Comprehensively Strengthening Party-Building. The booklet, which contains two Jiang speeches on the Three Representative Theory and other issues, has been made compulsory reading for cadres nationwide. Meanwhile, the official media have come up with more 1960s-vintage stories on the larger-than-life status of Mr Jiang. Beijing's Guangming Daily yesterday ran a piece on how famous singer He Yutang was thunder-struck by the president. After a performance in Beijing early this year, He was congratulated by Mr Jiang. 'His heart beat rapturously,' the newspaper reported. During the Cultural Revolution, the media often ran articles on how Chinese were mesmerised by the mere sight of Chairman Mao Zedong.