Reading list reflects the Jiang effect on leaders

Leaders' week-long study of works by Jiang Zemin in Beijing reflects the former president's persistent impact on the political climate, analysts said.

In its commentary yesterday, the People's Daily said all key provincial leaders had started studying the Selected Works of Jiang Zemin in the party school amid a pre-Lunar New Year intensive workload, with Mr Jiang's 'The Theory of the Three Represents' being highlighted as the key topic.

Xu Youyu , a political theorist from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the aim of the study was unclear, but at least showed Mr Jiang's political influence still existed.

'Mr Jiang still exerts some influence although he handed over his post to President Hu Jintao several years ago. Naturally his influence has fluctuated in policy-making over the past few years,' Professor Xu said.

'I would guess we are having this study because his power is rising.'

Mr Jiang's 'Three Represents' stressed that businessmen represent one of the most important productive social forces and could be recruited as party members.

However, Professor Xu said some officials had noted Mr Hu seldom publicised Mr Jiang's idea of recruiting capitalists as party members since he took over as party chief. Some even speculated that he had deviated from Mr Jiang's ideological route. Professor Xu suggested the study might be a signal Mr Hu wanted to let his party cadres know that he was considering Mr Jiang's theory.

Hong Kong political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-sui said the theory study was one part of Mr Hu's plan to prepare for the 17th Party Congress in autumn.

'Hu needs to show his complete control of the leadership to outsiders in the congress,' he said. 'The ideological studying hasn't any significance, but he could consolidate Jiang's faction and his own men together.

'Such a study is the best traditional strategy to consolidate Hu's power as it will not cause any political unrest.'