(Cont’d) After coming to power, Jiang Zemin sought the limelight, and thus began shenanigans like dancing and singing during international diplomatic exchanges. That such antics fly in the face of diplomatic protocol and betray the dignity of China seems far removed from Jiang’s mind. It was through this, the sapping of China’s honor, that Jiang won the nickname of “the clown.”
During one meeting with the King of Spain, he took out a comb and proceeded to groom himself, oblivious to all onlookers. On one occasion when he was to be given a medal, he couldn’t wait and snatched the medal, adorning himself with it. Once, in the middle of a state dinner, he suddenly invited the first lady of a foreign nation to dance. He sprung from his chair to sing “O Sole Mio,” and struck up a piano tune, fixing his lustful eyes on the misses.
His clowning made him something of a laughingstock in the Western press. Or just consider his meetings with former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Jiang visited the United States in 1993 and 1997, and Clinton visited China in 1998. Every time they met, Jiang played some musical instrument or went into song. After performing he would each time ask Clinton to play the saxophone, which Clinton, tellingly, declined despite being a virtuoso. In 1997, during Jiang’s visit to the United States, a journalist raised the matter of Tibet at a press conference. Jiang abruptly launched into a rendition of “Home on the Range,” much to his audience’s bewilderment.
Classic Jiang is the former leader’s frequent recitation of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Be it talking to students, doing interviews with the press, or even when making foreign visits, Jiang finds occasion for reciting the Address. When asked, he obediently recites it; when not asked, he recites it all the same. Hardly can the figure of a nation’s sovereign be made out here.
Still more absurd is Jiang’s obsession with speaking foreign languages. In advance of a visit to Latin America, Jiang— disregarding his age and to the neglect of important national affairs— spent several months taking an intensive Spanish language class. Jiang went about it like a clown who, placed accidentally on a throne, could do little to change his showy nature.
In the Chinese version of his biography, he reasons, “If you can’t communicate with another person because of differences in language, how can you exchange ideas or reach agreement?” Yet common sense dictates that clumsy foreign language skills would hardly be enough to allow Jiang more expressive or dynamic exchanges. Many heads of state speak their respective native tongues and employ an interpreter. Is that to say they can’t come to agreements in their diplomatic exchanges?
Owing perhaps to the leaders of Communist nations typically being conservative, many Western leaders consider this “excitable” Jiang Zemin a different Party breed and find his performances most amusing. (to be cont’d…)
( from Real Story of Jiang Zemin: Introduction, The Epoch Ttimes)