onsdag 13. februar 2019

Why China’s Younger Generation (Sort of) Loves Jiang Zemin

Who is the most popular political figure among China’s younger generation? Not legendary warlord Cao Cao, not democratic revolutionary Sun Yat-sen, not Chairman Mao Zedong, and absolutely not Xi Jinping. It is former President Jiang Zemin, “the elder” (长者).

Jiang earned this nickname during an interview with the Hong Kong press, who questioned him on the credibility of the appointment of Tung Chee-hwa, then The Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Jiang’s age – he turns 93 this year — proves that he deserves such a nickname. Despite occasional rumors to the contrary, he is still very much alive, though he rarely appears in public these days because of health concerns. And now a considerable number Chinese young people are collecting Jiang Zemin memes and displaying them in WeChat. Though not without criticism in his own time, Jiang has been reborn as a “meme beacon,” while the social media tide has simultaneously turned in favor of him.