Jiang Zemin Could Die Any Day
Family ready to pull plug but waiting for Party approval, Japanese media
Jiang Zemin’s brain is dead but his body is being kept alive through an
artificial respirator, according to recent reports from Japanese and Hong Kong
media, echoing what has been passed around among insiders and China watchers for
the last several days.
Jiang’s family has given approval to pull the
plug, but the “inner echelon” of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) needs to make the final decision, the Japanese
newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported on July 9.
that resembles a search keyword related to
Jiang has been banished.
“The Central Propaganda Department has issued a
ban of news related to Jiang’s death,” according to the Chinese website
Aboluowang, which features leaks from CCP sources. “The media can only publish
information.” The page includes a photograph of an “urgent notice,” allegedly official in
provenance, that lists the forbidden keywords related to
Speculation about the fate of Jiang Zemin, former supreme leader
of the Chinese Communist Party, has been intense since he missed the CCP’s 90th
birthday party on July 1. On July 7 he was declared dead by Hong Kong’s ATV,
before the station quietly retracted its report.
Many in Chinese media circles assumed ATV’s
announcement meant something significant was afoot, given that a major investor in the broadcaster, Wang Zheng, is reportedly the nephew of Jiang’s wife.
reports have been confused. Xinhua, the state mouthpiece, published a statement
denying the rumors without explicitly stating that Jiang was not dead or
dying—and unusually, only published the notice in English.
Jiang’s death has been handled by the regime’s propaganda administration is
redolent of the death of former Vice-Premier Huang Ju. In that case a Hong
Kongbroadcaster, Phoenix, first broke the
news of his death on May 9, 2007, before retracing its steps and giving
an apology an hour later.
But Xinhua reported the actual death on June 2—also
setting that date for when he was supposed to have died.
The date of
Jiang’s death has not been set. Asahi Shimbun expects a “major announcement”