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Keyword: rumors

Mark Twain, William Shakespeare and Jiang Zemin

An elderly man looks at portraits of former Chinese communist leaders (L to R) Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and current president Hu Jintao in Ditan Park in Beijing on June 28, 2011. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)
Policy

As my friends know, it doesn’t take much to make me think of Mark Twain. And even people I’ve never met who have followed my writings on China know about my obsession with Twain, since I’ve managed to bring him into discussions of a wide range of China-related topics, from Shanghai history (he never went there but has a San Francisco-bound fictional character set sail from that treaty port) to the Boxers (with whose cause he expressed sympathy in 1900). So, it’s no surprise that, when rumors about Jiang Zemin’s death flew and then were squashed earlier this week, I found myself thinking of Twain.