The removal of a stone plinth sign written by former Chinese president Jiang Zemin at the entrance of a key Communist Party training centre is not a sign of disrespect, a senior official said Monday, Reuters reported.
Speculation about party infighting was prompted by the removal of a stone sign, written in Jiang’s distinctive calligraphy, from the front entrance of the Central Party School early this month.
Jiang stepped down as party chief in 2002 and state president in 2003 but remained head of the military for another year after stacking the Politburo, the party’s elite ruling body, with his people.
He remains influential to this day.
Rumors periodically circulate in leadership and diplomatic circles about Jiang, especially arguments between him and President Xi Jinping about policy.
The party’s official People’s Daily had already stirred the pot with a commentary criticising unnamed officials who clung to power after retirement and caused party splits.
Zhuo Zeyuan, head of the school’s political science and law department, told a news conference — ostensibly about a military parade this week marking the end of World War II — that the sign had been moved to within the school’s grounds, as too many people had been stopping outside on the main road to take pictures of it and that had become a safety issue.
“Also, the Central Party School is undergoing a full refurbishment, and moving it to the front of the main building in fact does not mean any disrespect to comrade Jiang Zemin. We still respect him as before,” said Zhuo.
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