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Monday, 11 November, 2002, 14:23 GMT
How to become ruler of China
Delegates to the Party Congress
Follow the Party line to the letter
As China's Communist Party prepares for a new leadership under Hu Jintao, the BBC's Beijing correspondent Adam Brookes - in this personal view of the Party's workings - has some unofficial career advice for those seeking the highest office.

Rule One: Do no harm

To the Communist Party, that is.

Religious movements, independent political parties, dissidents and ethno-separatist troublemakers may all be sacrificed without career consequences.

It is helpful, in fact, to have demonstrated grit in the face of subversion.

Hu Jintao applauds Jiang Zemin's work report
Applaud your elders and betters

Li Peng is the man widely credited with overseeing the shooting of unarmed civilians in and around Tiananmen in 1989.

Thirteen years on he is still number two in the Party hierarchy.

Hu Jintao was in charge in Tibet in 1988-89, when an unknown number of pro-independence protesters died during a period of martial law.

As a seeker of high position, you may never allow anyone to question the Party's right to rule.

Rule Two: Be boring

If promotion beckons, say nothing that may mark you out as having fresh plans, new ideas or ambition.

Your elders and betters will feel threatened. They may decide you are the long-feared 'Chinese Gorbachev' hiding in their midst.

Your career will suffer, and you may suffer too.

Zhao Ziyang (right) with former US President George Bush
Don't let your hopes pull you down
Chinese political history is littered with the corpses of those who aspired - and let their aspirations show: Gao Gang; Liu Shaoqi; Lin Biao; Jiang Qing; Hu Yaobang; Zhao Ziyang: the list is long.

Hu Jintao, on the other hand, has never given an interview. His personal views on China and its future are a total mystery.

Rule Three: Know your Three Stresses from your Three Represents

Follow the Party line to the letter - even if you do not understand what it is.

The Three Represents is General Secretary Jiang's own contribution to the ideological canon, a "brilliant development of Marx and Mao."

In the early days of the Three Represents campaign, Party members would say in private that they had no idea what it meant.

But those who knew what was good for them learned the slogans and rallied around the Party centre with Jiang Zemin at the core.

Hu Jintao has been active in the countryside guiding the peasants "to correctly understand and comprehensively fulfil the requirements of the Three Represents".

Know your jargon, and stick to it.

Rule Four: Know your throw weight from your telemetry

Technocrats are much in demand in today's Party. A background in engineering is highly desirable; engineering related to strategic industries is especially so.


Those with degrees in literature should look elsewhere

Knowing your way around computer chips, oil pipelines, telecommunications, missiles and biotechnology will impress.

Today's senior Party man (and very occasionally woman) knows that science and technology are "the first force of production".

Hu Jintao's background is in hydraulic engineering. Those with degrees in literature should look elsewhere.

Rule Five: Make nice with capitalists...

You may remember that capitalists were at one time deemed to be exploiters, and were widely disapproved of in China.

Some Party members had strong opinions on this matter. However, this is no longer the case.

Jiang Zemin and aides swimming
Winning over the Western media can help
Capitalists are now welcome to join the Party. (It is all part of the Three Represents.)

You may want to find another way of referring to them, such as 'entrepreneurs', or 'personnel employed by enterprises of the non-public sector', as 'capitalist' still has a whiff of the cowshed about it.

But capitalists are now helping to build socialism with Chinese characteristics, too. And rich ones are a welcome addition to the Party's ranks.

Rule Six: ...But choose your friends

Beware of that enticing invitation to a junket in a seaside resort town, especially if it comes from a capitalist.

A wealthy businessman in Xiamen city, Lai Changxing, allegedly hid cameras in his hotel to film officials cavorting with the local talent.

Do not let this happen to you. You may accept lavish gifts and jobs for your relatives, but do not allow anyone to keep tabs.

Best to line up someone powerful to protect you politically in case a rival tries to engineer your downfall.

The former Party Secretary of Beijing, Chen Xitong, is under house arrest because he was corrupt - but more importantly because he fell out with General Secretary Jiang Zemin.

Mr Chen's deputy, Wang Baosen, shot himself, apparently. The people love the Party, but they love a Party scandal more. Avoid.

Rule Seven: Affect a cosmopolitan outlook...

Today's leaders of China display idiosyncrasies which they are convinced make them attractive to the Western media.

Jiang Zemin likes to sing; Old Man River and O Sole Mio are among his favourite songs. Titanic is his favourite movie.

A senior propaganda official has deemed Titanic to be "superior foreign culture" which is welcome in China.

Hu Jintao's official biography has described him as a proficient ballroom dancer who used to "dance solo at parties".

Rule Eight: ...But never, ever, ever go public

The Party believes that its inner workings are its own business, and so should you.

A new leadership is now emerging in China - the world's most populous nation; its fastest growing economy; a nuclear power.

The people of China and the rest of the world have no idea how that leadership was agreed upon, according to what criteria, when, or by whom.

And that is as it should be.


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