Five: Fatuous And Cruel
8: The Hiding Turtle
Power is everything for Jiang Zemin. He has no regard for people’s life and properties. He couldn’t care less for the welfare of the Chinese people overseas.
And he is always a coward when facing crisis and foreign powers. This is in stark contrast with his support for the Tian An Men Massacre, his cruel persecution of Falun Gong Practitioners, and his ruling of China with an iron wrist.
A riot against ethnic Chinese broke out in Indonesia on May 13, 1998, and lasted for 3 days. The properties of Chinese Indonesians were widely looted, and destroyed. Over two thousand ethnic Chinese living in Indonesia were killed, and hundreds of women were gang-raped, some were even killed after being raped.
The international community was shocked, and angered by the barbaric attacks. The United States Congress and the United Nations Human Rights Commission both issued statements condemned the incident. Leaders of many countries, and organizations in kind condemned the Indonesian government. Media reported extensively on the riot. Chinese living outside of China were irate, and demanded that the Chinese government condemn the event as well.
Surprisingly though Jiang stated that the violence was Indonesia’s internal affair, and that as such, China’s media should not report on it. The Chinese government, he instructed, should not interfere.
On the contrary, Jiang made sure that nothing would affect his ties with Indonesia’s leader, and a large sum of financial aids to Indonesia would carry on as usual.
Again, he disregarded people’s welfare, and acted in a craven manner. Had Jiang made a public statement, or given a warning on behalf of the Chinese government, the plight of Indonesia’s Chinese wouldn’t have been so heart-wrenching, and unalterable.
On May 8, 1999, during NATO’s war with Yugoslavia, the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was hit with 3 missiles resulting in the death of 3 reporters. The United States explained the bombing was a mistake. China refused to believe this account.
After the bombing, China’s military asked Jiang Zemin to put on his military uniform at once, and make a statement as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission on television.
Others suggested Jiang wear a suit, and lodge a protest as the Nation’s Chairman, and immediately summon the US ambassador to China. The country’s top officials thus were quickly entangled in a quarrel. The ever-timid Jiang was flustered by this. He had no idea what he should say, or to what extent he should protest.
After discussing things with Zeng Qinghong, he decided to hand out the nutty problem to Hu Jin-tao.
Jiang and Zeng hatched a rather nasty scheme, however, that would in effect kill two birds with one stone. If Zhu Rongji didn’t come to the fore on this issue, China’s angry mass would associate the bombing with Zhu Rongji’s appeasement diplomacy, and shift their anger to him. He could thus serve as a scapegoat. On the other hand, any Hu Jintao’s mistake could be reason enough to stop him from succeeding Jiang as General Secretary at the 16th National Congress.
For the next two days, Jiang was nowhere to be seen.
Jiang’s inaction aroused great indignation in China, for he was the nation’s Chairman and the Chair of the Central Military Commission. As of the third day, Jiang still hadn’t shown himself. Slogans such as “Jiang Zemin, a turtle hiding in his shell”, “Our leaders must have all died” could be heard in the People’s University of China. The nation as a whole was indignant all over.