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Jiang Zemin seeks prolonged power

December 26, 2000
Web posted at: 2:11 PM EST (1911 GMT)

Editor's note: If you are planning to use the news story that this lesson plan is based on for a homework assignment, please write the URL on the board and have your students copy it. updates the site in the early evening, so students may have difficulty finding it without the URL. You can find the lesson plan by going to the Subject Areas page and clicking PREVIOUS in the square for Today's Lesson Plan.


Students will be able to:

  • Discuss implications of Jiang Zemin's legacy
  • Predict Chinese internal and foreign policy for the year 2002 and support their views


National Council for the Social Studies

VI Power, Authority and Governance: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance.

Materials article, "Power play"

What's happening in China?'s background on 20th century China

On and off-line news resources

Suggested time

1 - 2 class periods


1. To begin, ask what students know about contemporary China. Also find out if they have seen any recent articles in newspapers or television news stories about China. Is China in the news? If yes, then what is being reported?

2. Ask students to read article, "Power play." Then ask:

  • Who is Jiang Zemin? What is his role in Chinese politics? What kinds of policies would he try to implement? How do you know?
  • How could Zemin hold onto power, even though he must retire from his position as president by early 2003? What predictors indicate that he may not be retaining power? How might he be able to regain political power?
  • What is meant by "Fourth Generation politicians"? What policies would these leaders like to implement? What do you think would be best for China, and why?

    3. Direct students to use on and offline resources to learn about the policies of Jiang Zemin and the latest responses to him by the Politburo.


    Verbal skills Students can use resources to create a written profile of Jiang Zemin - his family background, personal accomplishments and life as a Chinese leader.


    Have students use the information they found to analyze Zemin's political career and his hopes to remain in power beyond his time as president. Ask them to predict whether or not he will remain influential in Chinese politics and to base their proposition on information they found during their research. Also have them consider whether or not it would be in China's best interest for Zemin to remain powerful.


    Break up the resources found in's lesson plan, "What's happening in China?" and divide the sections on historical events among groups of students. Each group can present findings in order to give the class as a whole a more complete understanding of 20th century China.

    Life story of Jiang - Results for Jiang Zemin
    CNN In-Depth Specials - Visions of China - Profiles: Jiang Zemin

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