Two: Anything For Political Gains
3: “Braggart Jiang”
In 1966, Jiang Ze-min was 40 years old. Mao Ze Dong launched the Cultural Revolution, in hope of regaining dictatorial power over the Party, power which he felt had fallen into the hands of Liu Shao Qi. Mao incited students and workers at the lowest levels to revolt and seize power. Within a short time, nearly everyone who had been in power was attacked, denounced, or even detained, and tortured.
In May of that year, Jiang Ze-min was appointed director, and acting Party secretary of the Wuhan Institute of Thermodynamic Engineering. The appointment made Jiang Ze-min a 13 grade cadre, that is, he was vaulted into an elite circle of senior CCP cadres. The truth is, Jiang Ze-min was terribly frightened during the Cultural Revolution. He feared that he would be investigated, exposed, and criticized, and worried that his shady past during the time of Japanese occupation would be discovered. Jiang Ze-min went first to Beijing, then on to Shanghai for several weeks to inquire about the political climate. He repeatedly rejoined Wang Ye-ping:”Don’t say anything!”
Wang Ye-ping advised Jiang Ze-min, to intentionally deviate from the Party line, on a few trivial issues, so as to divert the rebels’ attention from the large ones. Since he had been transferred there only recently, people could find little to criticize him about. Jiang Ze-min was not much affected. Jiang Ze-min took the attitude of admitting to all minor mistakes, while denying wrong doings when it came to important matters.
When the masses criticized him for not doing solid work, only doing a lot of boasting, he criticized himself saying:”You are right, I’m braggart Jiang!” Jiang Ze-min had been influenced by actors in Yangzhou City since as early as his childhood. He always has a comb in his pocket, and would often take out to groom himself, even in other’s company. He felt good about himself, despite being somewhat effeminate.
When the populace was criticizing the capitalist roaders, they pointed out that Jiang Ze-min had a small comb, and a big head, and a bourgeoisie attitude. Jiang Ze-min immediately admitted to it.
In 2003, during the National People’s Congress, Jiang Ze-min told the delegation from Hubei Province:” The rebels asked me what I fear the most. I answered that I fear Chairman Mao the most. And for saying that, I was publicly criticized for 3 days.” If he was guilty free, why would he fear Chairman Mao? At that time, people couldn’t love Chairman Mao enough.
Back then, the political investigation personnel poked everywhere to investigate, and dig things out. Even things that had transpired decades before, were exposed. But Jiang Ze-min was never toppled, since he had a golden status of being a martyr’s foster son. The martyr was dead, so was the investigation.
In 1969, martyr’s foster son Jiang Ze-min went through the political investigation quickly, without incident, and was first sent to a May Seven Cadre School to work, and to be tempered. Soon after that, he was sent to Beijing in 1970, and was appointed deputy director of the foreign affairs bureau, under the First Ministry Of the Machinery Industry.
At the time, the CCP was extremely isolated in the international arena. Both super powers, the US and the Soviet became threatening enemies of the CCP. China and the Soviet Union, two communist countries, had border conflicts, and fiercely fought a few times along their borders. In order to get out of the predicament of isolation,the CCP tried hard to bring several small communist countries over to its side. The CCP decided to send some people to Romania to help facilitate industrial buildup. Zhou Enlai met with the group.
Zhou was a CCP figure who managed to remain standing, no matter how the political climate changed. He was involved, from behind the curtain, in all of the political movements launched by the CCP, charming on the outside, but cruel on the inside. After the meeting, Zhou En-lai thought highly of Jiang Ze-min, and made him the group’s leader. After he returned to China in 1972, he was promoted to director of the foreign affairs Bureau, a position he would hold for 8 years.
The bureau was a good place to be though. In the nineteen seventies, when goods of any type were hard to come by, those who had some connections with foreign affairs, had access to desirable items. Jiang Ze-min took advantage of his position, and would every now and then send some gifts to his superiors. He tried to please people anyway he could, catering to everyone. His eldest son, Jiang Mian-heng, was able to make it into Fudan University, thanks to his frequent provisions of hot commodities to the leaders.
At that time, Wang Dao-han was in a bad predicament. Jiang Ze-min figured that investment should be looked at in terms of long run. With Wang Dao-han’s qualifications, records of service, and status in the CCP, he had a great chance of making a comeback. Therefore, Jiang Ze-min hurried to Wang Dao-han’s home, upon returning from Romania with a full load. He brought things such as milk powder and candy, amounting to a rather sizable treat for Wang’s family.
The team who wrote Jiang Ze-min’s biography, sought out his accomplishments of some sort, but could not find any. The consensus is, one can’t say that Jiang Ze-min did not work hard, or was unmotivated. He did well in adapting to the times, and keeping pace with his superiors. According to the wife of a deceased director, Jiang Ze-min’s own reference, her husband used to say, Jiang Ze-min would exaggerate his achievements, and make something out of nothing.
Jiang Ze-min was average at his job, and had no merits to speak of, but frequently studied the Works Of Corruption In Officialdom, and deeply understood that, under the CCP’s rule, only by being opportunistic, boasting, and flattering one’s superiors, a person could sail through, and meet with political success. During each of the political movements that Jiang Ze-min experienced, it was always the case, that he would falsely accuse somebody, and make people suffer.