Jiang Zemin
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Deng warns against old mentality

Jiang Zemin

PATRIARCH Deng Xiaoping has attacked party elders and cadres for saying his reformist theories run counter to Marxism.

He has also given instructions to prevent a Deng ''personality cult'', especially after his death, and advised General Secretary Jiang Zemin to consolidate his grasp on the army.

According to the latest issue of the pro-Chinese journal The Mirror, Mr Deng is worried about the recent spate of seminars honouring the so-called Deng Thought, and about plans in various cities to erect Deng statues.

In a letter to the Politburo last month, Mr Deng reportedly said: ''I am not being humble but just being practical. I will feel uneasy about exhibitions that eulogise me.'' The patriarch also indicated that Deng Thought - building a socialist market economy - needed to be constantly revised.

''Some people in the party, including party elders, are opposed to or do not totally agree with the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics,'' Mr Deng said in the letter.

''They think the theory has revised and corrupted Marxism and Leninism.'' The patriarch warned that the unnamed conservative elders still insisted that China should engage in unremitting ''class struggle''.

''Some of our old comrades have not shed the bondage of dogmatism of the 1950s, '60s and '70s,'' Mr Deng added.

''They refuse to change their mentality to think about and evaluate the serious setbacks our economy has suffered as well as the lesson from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.'' The patriarch said he had asked leaders, including Mr Jiang, Li Peng and Qiao Shi, to refrain from erecting a personality cult around him.

''Do not portray the 'theories of Deng Xiaoping' as very great, correct and comprehensive,'' Mr Deng said. ''If this becomes too excessive, we shall be in a passive position.'' Meanwhile, to ensure that his protege, Mr Jiang, would be able to counter attacks from the elders after his death, Mr Deng has instructed the party chief to ''devote more time to army work''.

''What is most important is doing well the work of the army and to prevent mishaps from happening,'' The Mirror quoted Mr Deng as saying.

''If people like ourselves [octogenarians] are no longer around and you cannot stabilise the army, the whole situation will also be destabilised.'' The party chief, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, recently played an active role in the change of military personnel.

Analysts said that, with conservative elders like Peng Zhen and Chen Yun becoming active, Mr Deng had taken moves to boost the power bases of proteges, including Mr Jiang and Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji.

Recently, Mr Peng and Mr Chen indirectly attacked market reforms when they focused on such ''negative phenomena'' as corruption and extravagance in the lifestyles of the nouveau riche.