RFA TO AIR PARTS OF LANDMARK BOOK ON CHINA�S LEADERSHIP


2002.09.18
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 18--Radio Free Asia (RFA) will begin broadcasting excerpts from "Disidai" (�The Fourth Generation�)--an inside account of China�s leadership transition--starting Tuesday, Oct.1. The broadcasts will conclude Nov. 8, when the 16th Communist Party Congress convenes in Beijing.

RFA�s Mandarin service has secured exclusive, worldwide Mandarin-language broadcast rights to "Disidai" (New York: Mirror Books, 2002), written under the pseudonym Zong Hairen by a Chinese national who claims to have access to secret official documents.

The book predicts that President Jiang Zemin, 76, will step down as party chief during the Party Congress and hand over the presidency in March, despite reports that aides have asked him to consider staying on. The presumptive new leaders are proponents of both modernization and authoritarian rule, according to two American scholars, Bruce Gilley and Andrew Nathan, who worked with Zong to publish the book in English.

By publishing "Disidai," Zong told RFA, he wasn�t aiming to �change the 16th Party Congress personnel appointments predetermined by the highest level of the Chinese Communist Party.�

To the contrary, Zong wrote to RFA, �I hope to see Mr. Jiang Zemin make a clean exit from China's political stage. Everybody knows that a China without Mr. Jiang Zemin will not grind to a halt; a China without Mr. Jiang Zemin will not plunge into chaos; a China without Mr. Jiang Zemin will be healthier, more open, and more vigorous.�

�Everybody knows that even if Taiwan declares independence --a most serious political incident in the eyes of Chinese leadership, but a scenario that is practically impossible--�the new generation of Chinese leaders will be completely capable of resolving the crisis.�

�I hope that, come spring of next year, Mr. Jiang Zemin will begin the retirement life of an elderly person, that he will stay away from politics, and enjoy the serenity of old age.�

"Disidai" means �Fourth Generation� and refers to China�s emerging leaders. Jiang�s own cohort is known as the third generation, after the late Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

At the Party Congress, Jiang will step down as Communist Party secretary-general in favor of his vice president, Hu Jintao, 59, as planned, Zong writes in "Disidai." Li Ruihan, 68, appears likely to take over as chairman of the National People�s Congress, while Wen Jiabao, 60, will succeed Zhu Rongji as Chinese premier.

�Originally, I, we--from Beijing to the provinces, from party elders to many incumbent leaders--had expected the 16th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party to convene before the 53rd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China [Oct.1],� Zong told RFA. �All preparatory work for the 16th Congress had been done with such a goal in mind.�

�How we had hoped that, on [China�s] national day, a new generation of leaders headed by Hu Jintao would ascend to the highest level in Chinese politics and make its debut to the Chinese people! However, rather than the golden season of harvest, the 16th Party Congress will now take place in late fall, a time of decline and decay. Is this some kind of an omen?�

�For many of my compatriots who care about China's national affairs, Radio Free Asia is the channel through which they acquire information otherwise denied them. Under a system where the national media are highly unified, I wish to bring listeners truthful and enlightening information through Radio Free Asia,� Zong wrote to RFA.

�I hope that five years from now Chinese politics will no longer be shrouded in such mystery, and that the Central People's Broadcasting Station and China Radio International will be able to broadcast the content of writings such as 'Disidai,'" he wrote.

"Disidai" will be published in English on Nov. 1 by The New York Review Books, under the title "China's New Rulers: The Secret Files," by Andrew J. Nathan and Bruce Gilley. The New York Review of Books has published two articles based on the book in issues dated Sept. 26 and Oct. 10.

Through its broadcasts and call-in programs, RFA aims to fill a critical gap in the lives of people across Asia. Created by the U.S. Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996 as a private, nonprofit corporation, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest standards of journalism and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content.

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