In the spring of 2005, China’s political situation appears delicate and complicated. Since the Two Conferences (the National People’s Congress and the Political Consultative Conference), a series of events such as Zhao Ziyang’s death, the Anti-Secession Law and China’s anti-Japanese campaign have had a big impact on Hu Jintao, the new leader in Zhongnanhai. Before mid-April, the government initiated and manipulated an anti-Japanese movement. With its tacit consent, it then spread to the entire country. On April 17, however, Hu Jintao told the Foreign Ministry and the military to stop their encouragement, support and instigation of this anti-Japanese sentiment. At the same time, under Hu’s orders, the Party Central Propaganda Ministry instructed the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, Guangming Daily and other Party propaganda media to restrain their reporting on the anti-Japanese movement. Hu Jintao also asked the Ministry of Public Security police to intimidate any anti-Japanese demonstrators. Yet the spontaneous anti-Japanese movement continues to evolve on its own, and activists have formed networks to call for all “patriots” to gather in Tiananmen Square on the May 4th anniversary to express “patriotic appeals.”
On the morning of April 21, 2005, in order to gain insight into the current situation in Beijing, the author, an editor for Democratic China, visited Mr. Lu Nan (pseudonym, for security reasons), a retired senior communist official in Beijing.