The outlook for people who challenge the CCP is grim. President Jiang Zemin has continued to champion China's economic reform. He has supported efforts to reduce corruption and to improve the criminal justice system. But he has done nothing to change the basic line of Deng Xiaoping's "four basic principles." On the contrary, he has worked to strengthen the leadership of the CCP by running political campaigns. The start of the "Three Stresses" (san jiang) campaign coincided with the arrests of CDP members at the end of 1998.117 The campaign, mainly aimed at party officials, was merged with another one, the "Three Representatives" (sange daibiao)118 campaign, which started in February 2000. Both aimed to incorporate Jiang's ideas of a clean government and "spiritual civilization" into the broader set of Marxist-Leninist principles which guide the Communist Party.
Those who go beyond the Four Principles, the Three Stresses or the Three Representatives, it is clear, will be dealt with harshly. Jiang is reported to have indirectly referred to the crackdown on the CDP as an example of his success: in a visit by Kim Jong-il, North-Korea's leader, who visited Beijing on the eve of the historic Korean summit in June 2000, Jiang is reported to have said that the secret of maintaining control was to "snuff out any challenge [to the administration] when it is still at the embryonic stage."119
The emergence and suppression of the CDP reflects the cycles of tolerance and intolerance that have characterized all Chinese government policies since the end of the Cultural Revolution. It also shows that China has a long way to go before its actions in signing the two major human rights treaties can be said to reflect progress on human rights. The Chinese government will be taking steps to protect human rights when it releases all members of the CDP and other advocates of peaceful reform, and when it stops treating efforts at peaceful political change as efforts to subvert state power.
117 Jiang Zemin launched the "Three Stresses" campaign and the official press mentioned it first on December 5, 1998. The program "targets leading officials above the county level through criticism, self-criticism and education, with stresses on studying theory, increasing political consciousness, and cultivating healthy trends." During a television conference on December 5, 1998, Jiang's hand-picked successor, vice president Hu Jintao, said that it was meant to "improve the cohesion and effectiveness of the Party's organizations and strengthen their relationship to the people" (see Xinhua News Agency, December 5, 1998).
118 The "Three Representatives" started with Jiang making an inspection tour to Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai. On the eve of the 11th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, Jiang stressed that "what is needed [with relation to] China's problems is that what should prevail over everything is stability" and stressing that "what the people hate most is behavior which threatens social stability." He warned once again against "foreign hostile forces carrying out plots to "westernize" and "divide" our country" (see for instance Fazhi ribao June 1, 2000).
119 Willy Wo-Lap Lam, "Jiang's Role In Korean Summit Lauded", South China Morning Post, June 20, 2000.