Thursday, 14 July 2011

He's Not Dead... Yet

Guess what folks! Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin is alive and well.

Earlier this week it was reported he was released from Beijing's No. 301 military hospital and recuperating at home after showing symptoms including fever. The news story said that while Jiang's illness was not clear, it was not as serious as a heart attack or stroke, which still leads to further speculation of what health problems he had.

Nevertheless, he was discharged even before July 1, the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, but doctors advised him to stay at home as the two-hour celebrations would have been too physically demanding for the 84 year old.

So it's a relief to hear he's fine, but why not disclose these details earlier when there were rumours of his imminent demise flying around?

This is a classic example of when the Chinese propaganda machine is on edge and isn't sure what to do.

Either the update on Jiang's health should have been released ahead of the celebrations that he would not attend, or during the event so that TV commentators could add this bit in while talking about the festivities; or at the very latest when Xinhua dismissed the speculation over Jiang's death as "pure rumour".

All this runaround wondering if Jiang was dead or alive was a complete waste of time, though it did make interesting fodder for a few days.

This story just shows how big the bureaucracy is and how long it takes to respond to "rumours".

How does the Chinese propaganda department expect to survive in the technologically-advanced world we live in where we expect answers instantly?

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