Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin reasserting control over country's top posts
A retired Communist Party chief involved in a number of scandals and corruption charges during his tenure in the party has thrust himself back to China's most important political decisions and emerged as a dominant figure shaping the future leadership.
The resurgence of Jiang Zemin, the 86-year-old former leader, is all the more striking because he was said to be near death last year.
But over recent months, Jiang, who left office a decade ago, has worked assiduously behind the scenes, voicing frustration with the record of his successor, Hu Jintao, and maneuvering to have his prot and #65533;g and #65533;s dominate the party's incoming ruling group, the New York Times reports.
According to the report, he even weighed in on how to deal with Bo Xilai, the populist political figure who was involved in a major scandal and was investigated after his wife was accused of murdering a British businessman.
Jiang has also sought to shape policy, party insiders said, by proposing changes to an agenda-setting report to be presented on Thursday at the start of the 18th Party Congress, the weeklong meeting that precedes the naming of Hu's replacement and a new generation of leaders, the report said.
According to the report, Jiang's goal, those insiders said, appears to be to put China back on a path toward market-oriented economic policies that he and his allies argue stagnated under a decade of cautious leadership by Jintao.
Many see Jiang, who brought China into the World Trade Organization and rebuilt ties to the United States after a breakdown in 1989, as favoring deeper ties to the West and more opportunities for China's private sector.
"Look at the final seven people and you know who the big winner is: Jiang, or Jiang and Xi," an editor at a party media organization said, adding: "The loser is Hu."
According to the report, some supporters of Jiang said that his involvement might give greater confidence to policy makers who could prove more amenable than Hu to loosening the hold of state-owned conglomerates in some crucial sectors, like finance and transportation, and also more inclined to establish a credible legal system that operates with a degree of autonomy from the party.