Jiang Zemin death: Former Chinese leader was 96

Jiang Zemin, the for­mer Chi­nese leader who came to pow­er after the Tianan­men Square crack­down, has died at the age of 96.

State media said he died in Shang­hai short­ly after 12:00 local time.

Jiang Zemin led the era of Chi­na’s large-scale open­ing up and rapid growth.

His death comes at a time when Chi­na is expe­ri­enc­ing its worst protests since Tianan­men Square, with many demon­strat­ing against Covid restrictions.

A Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty state­ment said he died of leukemia and mul­ti­ple organ failure.

He was also described as “an excel­lent leader with great pres­tige” and “a man who fought the com­mu­nists for many years.”

State media out­lets such as the Glob­al Times and Xin­hua News Agency dec­o­rat­ed his home­page in black and white and paid trib­ute to him.

State broad­cast­er CCTV praised his role after the 1989 bloody crack­down on pro­test­ers in and around Tianan­men Square.

“In the midst of the severe polit­i­cal tur­moil in Chi­na in the spring and sum­mer of 1989, Com­rade Jiang Zemin reit­er­at­ed the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee’s com­mit­ment to oppose the dis­tur­bance, safe­guard the pow­er of the social­ist state, and pro­tect the fun­da­men­tal inter­ests of the peo­ple. We sup­port­ed and act­ed on the right deci­sion,” he said.

The inci­dent has iso­lat­ed Chi­na inter­na­tion­al­ly and trig­gered a bit­ter pow­er strug­gle between reac­tionary hard­lin­ers and reformists at the top of the Com­mu­nist Party.

As a result, Jiang, who was ini­tial­ly treat­ed as a small offi­cial, was pro­mot­ed to a high posi­tion. He was cho­sen as a com­pro­mise leader in hopes of unit­ing hard­lin­ers and liberals.

Under his lead­er­ship, a mighty eco­nom­ic force was built, the Com­mu­nist Par­ty came to pow­er, and Chi­na rose to the top of the world’s great powers.

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