CAN JIANG HOLD THE REINS OF POWER?

THE OFFICIAL LINE FROM BEIJING INSISTS THE LEADERSHIP IS IN PLACE AND EVERYTHING IS SETTLED. BUT IT WOULD NOT BE CHINA OR THE COMMUNIST PARTY IF THAT WERE TRUE

China's top leadership, now that Deng Xiaoping is gone, looks like the ducks on a quiet pond in Zhongnanhai, the palatial government compound in Beijing. The ducks swim along serenely and smoothly. But below the surface their legs are paddling furiously, spreading unseen turbulence. They may or may not change places in their parade, but everyone watching knows that real effort goes into it.

That's not exactly the image Beijing is promoting. The official line is that the transition from the Deng era to that of President Jiang Zemin happened years ago and is locked firmly in place: Jiang was Deng's...

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