The Straits Times
Published on Jan 24, 2013

Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin takes step back


BEIJING (AFP) - Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin has requested a lower rank in the Communist Party protocol, according to state media, with experts saying he bowed to pressure from outgoing President Hu Jintao.

The 86-year-old, who retired as China's top leader a decade ago, is widely seen as a kingmaker within the top echelons of power in Beijing, particularly after a surprisingly prominent appearance at last November's 18th Party Congress.

Mr Jiang was seated alongside Mr Hu at the gathering, where a new set of leaders was unveiled, but his waning power was "evidenced" in an official press release on Monday's funeral of communist veteran Yang Baibing, the Xinhua news agency said.

The release listed Mr Jiang's name behind those of the party's current leaders, including party general secretary Xi Jinping, it said.