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 You are in: Special Report: 1998: 06/98: Clinton in China  
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EDITIONS
Clinton in China Wednesday, 24 June, 1998, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
Who's at China's top table?
State President: Jiang Zemin
Mr Jiang spent two decades in industry before breaking into politics in the early 1970s when he was brought to Beijing to work in the central bureaucracy. He spent three years as Mayor of Shanghai in the 1980s.

Jiang Zemin:
Jiang Zemin: Reaching out to the US
Mr Jiang was untainted by the Tiananmen Square massacre and he rose to power under the patronage of Deng Xiao Ping. Many analysts saw him initially as a compromise candidate for president, but he has consolidated his power and gained the support of the all-important military.

Since Deng's death he has actively promoted wide-ranging economic reforms including the privatisation of most state owned industries, despite the risks for economic stability.

President Jiang is widely travelled and has made improving relations with the United States a top objective of Chinese foreign policy. Last year, he became the first Chinese president to visit the US since the 1980s.

Prime Minister: Zhu Rongji
Zhu Ronji
Zhu Rongji: No nonsense style
Mr Zhu is an economic reformer who is known for his acerbic and straightforward style in contrast with the usual preference of Chinese leaders for compromise and consensus. In 1989 as Mayor Shanghai, he managed to avoid the bloodshed associated with demonstrations in the capital.

He was called in to grapple with China's burgeoning inflation in early 1990s, which he helped to bring under control. Mr Zhu is popular with Chinese people because of his anti corruption drives. On one famous occasion he sacked a local factory boss who he noticed was wearing an expensive Rolex watch.

Head of NPC: Li Peng
li peng
Li Peng: Reviled over human rights
Under the consitution, Mr Li had to stand down as prime minister after serving two terms but he remains an important figure as head of China's de-facto parliament. The leadership has been trying to build up the National People's Congress into a more effective supervisory and law making body.

In the debate over legal reform - which the US government will be pushing on this trip - the role of Li Peng and the NPC may be crucial. Cautious and uncharismatic , Mr Li remains reviled both at home and abroad. As prime minister in 1989, he introduced martial law during the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. His decision paved the way for the brutal military crackdown on the protest and he is seen as close to hard-liners.

Vice-President: Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao: Rising star
In his mid 50s, Mr Hu is seen as the rising star of the central committee. Little is known about his political or economic views, but is he clearly trusted by Jiang Zemin and is a leading candidate to succeed him as general secretary if as expected Mr Jiang steps down from his party job in 2002.

He spent a time as party secretary in Tibet in the 1980s where he was known for his hard-line views. He has also built a reputation as a capable administrator.

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