- Speech for Jiang: Xi emphasizes continuity
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Xi Jinping paid his respects to his late predecessor Jiang Zemin at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday. “A great Marxist and leader” he had been, who maneuvered the country through times of “external pressures and internal difficulties,” Xi said in his speech. Xi even indirectly mentioned the 1989 Tiananmen protests, a taboo that is not often addressed publicly otherwise, as Frank Sieren reports from Beijing. He thus praised the suppression of the protests. That could be a nod to last week’s protesters that no one in the party would hesitate to take harsh measures.
In his speech, Xi emphasized the continuity of the great leaders and servants of the Chinese people, into whose traditions he modestly also put himself. Of course, he failed to mention that he has already given himself more power than his predecessors would have dared to by removing age and tenure limits.
Relations with the United States were much better in the Jiang era than they are today under Xi. But despite sanctions, threatening gestures and indications of a technological Cold War, Chinese and US companies continue to collaborate on key future technologies. The latest example is the cooperation between Chinese car company Geely and US firm Waymo, owned by Google parent Alphabet. The two companies jointly develop an autonomous EV. The car has now been presented in Los Angeles, as our author team in Beijing reports.
The unveiled van was designed exclusively for operation as an autonomous cab. Instead of a steering wheel, it has a sophisticated entertainment system. If the car becomes a success story outside China and the USA as planned, it could also weld the world’s two largest economies a bit closer together.
Xi praises Jiang as economic reformer
In the Great Hall of the People, where the Communist red usually dominates, everything was in black and white for yesterday’s funeral of former state and party leader Jiang Zemin. Men wore black suits, black ties and a white mourning flower in their buttonholes. Some came in Mao-style suits with stand-up collars. During the nationally decreed three-minute silence, Jiang’s widow Wang Yeping remained seated in her wheelchair in the front row. She appeared quite frail.
Former President Hu Jintao and former Premier Zhu Rongji – a popular economic reformer to this day and a trusted comrade of Jiang’s – did not attend for health reasons. The 94-year-old Zhu has not appeared in public for some time. Hu had at least been present at Jiang’s shorter, more private cremation ceremony (China.Table reported).
The memorial service for Jiang, who died of multiple organ failure in Shanghai last week at the age of 96, was the largest ceremony of its kind since the funeral of reformer Deng Xiaoping in 1997, when Jiang gave a 50-minute speech in front of 10,000 people at the Great Hall of the People to commemorate his predecessor. During this speech, he took off his famous glasses several times to wipe away tears.