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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story



Speculating on the successor to President Jiang Zemin? Vice President Hu Jintao is the frontrunner, that's no secret. But if he were to falter, there is another option. It might be the man walking closest in Jiang's shadow - Zeng Qinghong, 59. Zeng, recen tly named to head the Party's central committee department in charge of assigning positions in its vast apparatus of 58 million members, is the president's closest adviser on domestic and foreign affairs - a modern-day "Keeper of the Imperial Palace." The Jiang-Zeng ties transcend generations - Zeng is the son of Zeng Shan, a revolutionary pioneer in East China who was a close friend of Wang Daohan, Jiang's mentor and a godfather in Party politics.

When Jiang arrived in Beijing in the wake of the Tiananmen incident he possessed little political capital except as Deng Xiaoping's personal anointee, so he brought in Zeng to do the dirty work necessary to consolidate power. Zeng soon proved indispensabl e in the service of his master, compiling dossiers on all top leaders. It was Zeng who negotiated the deal with Chen Xitong, the party chief in Beijing who was ousted in 1995, that cleaned out the notoriously corrupt municipal leadership. And it was Zeng who sat at Jiang's side, along with Vice Premier Qian Qichen, during the president's trip through the U.S. Such a man has plenty of enemies, but so far they have not been able to hurt him politically because of his patron's protection and personal reserve . Zeng firmly rebuffs favor-seekers: "I only serve tea at politburo meetings," he tells the supplicants.


TIME Engineering, the Malaysian firm laying a high-tech fiber-optic phone network in and around Kuala Lumpur, is looking for an international company to buy it out. Asiaweek has learned that TIME has approached both Japan's NTT and Australia's Telstra, bu t neither has made a decision yet. A court order last July kept creditors from pushing their claims - TIME is saddled with $1.2 billion of debt. A draft restructuring scheme by PricewaterhouseCoopers has been circulated. The plan is to link TIME's recover y to its mother company, the giant infrastructure group Renong. Part of TIME's debt would be paid by bonds issued by Renong's successful toll-road subsidiary, UEM. Meanwhile, the company has no funds to finish installing and operating the phone network th at is supposed to compete with state-run Telekom Malaysia.


A joke making the rounds in diplomatic circles in Jakarta: What does DFA stand for? Not only for Dewi Fortuna Anwar, President B. J. Habibie's closest adviser, but also for the Department of Foreign Affairs. Anwar is increasingly encroaching on the turf o f Ali Alatas, the foreign affairs minister. Alatas, embarrassingly out of the loop when January's announcement came that the government was ready to offer East Timor either autonomy or independence, has been saying he would leave his post once the Timor s ituation is resolved. Habibie has put a deadline of January 2000 for the final decision, but Alatas might be gone before then. It will be Anwar who will meet with pro-independence spokesman Josť Ramos-Horta in the London conference to discuss the next ste ps for East Timor on March 29 and 30.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel ž at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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