Jiang's theory 'strains ideology'

Stephen E Philion philion at hawaii.edu
Wed Aug 30 11:05:22 PDT 2000

This is bad news for those who hope that more backroom horsetrading among cadres will lead to change in China. Raymond Lau's in article Pacific Review, Vol 12, No. 1, 1999, "Left and Right in China's economic reform in the 1990's..." is by far and away the most thorough review of the vacuousness of Jiang's "theory" and the acceptance of many of its key components on the left as well as the right in China.

Someone recently complained to me that Lau is another Trotskyist who only wants to expose the 'evil' crimes of the bureaucracy...Actually, the reason I highly recommend reading Lau's Pacific Review article (and his 2 other articles in Capital and Class) is precisely because he does *not* write in such an outmoded fashion and addresses himself to empirical and theoretical questions without resort to tired dictum, slogans, and the like. His analysis of the impact of corporatization as a policy in the SOEs and the decreasing State owned equity in the SOEs is one of the few existing careful treatment of the gap between between stated (and often sincerely expressed) intent on the part of SOE policy makers and results (that can be found in the Capital and Class article on the 15th Party Congress). His writing is on a par with many of the finest writing we find in books by authors on this list.

Below is an article from South Morning China Post on Jiang's theorising..



Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Jiang's theory 'strains ideology'


An aide to Jiang Zemin has privately admitted that the President's "Theory of the Three Representatives" may depart from the traditional emphasis on the proletariat being the mainstay of the party and nation.

The Jiang adviser also conceded that the Three Representatives dictum was similar to the theories of socialist democratic parties in Europe.

The aide, who advises Mr Jiang on party and propaganda matters and wishes to remain anonymous, was speaking in an informal setting at the recent series of leadership meetings at the Beidaihe seaside resort.

Mr Jiang's Theory of the Three Representatives, first raised early this year, points out the party must remain at the forefront of world trends in areas such as technology, the economy and culture.

A Beijing source yesterday quoted the Jiang aide as saying in Beidaihe that the party had to rely mostly on intellectuals, entrepreneurs and scientists to stay ahead of the times.

"President Jiang sets a lot of store on the proletarians," the Jiang aide reportedly said. "But obviously, it is members of the educated and propertied classes, including both state and private entrepreneurs, who can best push the party forward."

The aide said Mr Jiang's dictum had similarities with theories espoused by socialist democratic parties, including those that evolved out of communist parties in the former Soviet bloc.

However, the Jiang adviser, who is tipped for promotion at the 16th party congress scheduled for 2002, said it was premature to discuss the more "progressive" aspects of the Three Representatives theory.

It is understood that at least one State Council think-tank in Beijing has started detailed studies of the theories and policies of socialist democratic parties. A Western diplomat in Beijing said Mr Jiang and his aides were trying to reassure moderate and liberal party members that the President had not abandoned political reform.

"Many socialist democratic parties, including those that are former communist parties, have significantly liberalised orthodox doctrines on areas including one-party dictatorship," the diplomat said.

"If Jiang is serious about such parties, he may not be that averse to real political reform several years down the road."

Since early summer the party's leftists, or remnant Maoists, have warned that Mr Jiang's departure from Maoist doctrine that promotes the "vanguard role" of proletarians might lead the country down the road of capitalism.

But Mr Jiang and his aides have insisted that only cadres conversant with the Three Representatives theory will be promoted.

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