Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin dies at age 96

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By Creative Media News

Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who came to power following the Tiananmen Square riots, has passed away at the age of 96.

Wednesday, just after noon local time (04:00 GMT), according to state media, he passed away in Shanghai.

Jiang presided over a period of expansive opening and rapid economic growth in China.

His death occurs at a time when China is experiencing some of its most dramatic protests since Tiananmen, with many protesting Covid restrictions.

According to a statement from the Chinese Communist Party, he died of leukemia and multiple organ failure.

Former chinese leader jiang zemin dies at age 96
Former chinese leader jiang zemin dies at age 96

In addition, he was described as a “distinguished commander with tremendous prestige” and “a seasoned Communist fighter.”

State media websites, such as the Global Times and the Xinhua news agency, went black and white in remembrance.

After the violent 1989 crackdown on protesters in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing, CCTV praised his participation.

“During the significant political turbulence in China in the spring and summer of 1989, Comrade Jiang Zemin supported and implemented the proper decision of the Party Central Committee to resist disorder, defend communist state power, and protect the fundamental interests of the people,” the document stated.

The event alienated China globally and started a protracted power struggle between reactionaries and reformers at the head of the Communist Party.

Jiang, who was first viewed as a plodding bureaucrat, was thereby raised to a position of prominence. He was selected as a compromise leader in the belief that he would unite conservatives and liberals.

Under his leadership, a robust economy was developed, the Communists tightened their hold on power, and China ascended to the forefront of global power.

He oversaw the peaceful transfer of Hong Kong in 1997 and China’s admission into the World Trade Organization in 2001, thereby integrating the country into the global economy.

However, political changes were also shelved, and he suppressed internal dissent while taking a tough attitude toward Taiwan. In 1999, he was criticized for the violent suppression of the religious cult Falun Gong, which was perceived as a danger to the Communist Party.

To secure his place in the Communist Party, he devised his political ideology, the Three Represents theory, to modernize the organization.

During his time in office, Jiang attempted to develop ties with the United States, making multiple trips to the country and promising then-President George W. Bush assistance in the “war on terror” following 9/11.

In a nation not known for its flamboyant leaders, he was regarded as possessing a more colorful personality than his successors. He sang Elvis Presley at a global conference and then went swimming off the shore of Hawaii.

Later in life, he retreated from the government and was rarely seen in public. Nonetheless, as he became less noticeable, he became the unlikely topic of internet memes.

Many Chinese caricatured his distinctive thick eyeglasses and compared his appearance to that of a toad. Young supporters referred to themselves as “frog worshippers.”

Others, though, have cautioned against feeling sentimental about the Jiang Zemin era.

Wang Dan, one of the student leaders from 1989 who now resides outside of China, described him as a “classic political opportunist.”

“Deng Xiaoping prevented Jiang Zemin from reverting to a planned economy, even though he appeared to be an open-minded leader. Politically, he has always been a conservative “he tweeted (in Chinese).

Some speculate that Jiang’s death could spark fresh protests in China, just as the death of former Chinese Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang sparked the Tiananmen Square demonstrations 33 years ago.

However, Rose Luqiu, an associate professor of journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University, does not believe this to be likely.

She informed me that he had withdrawn from public view for an extended period.

Jiang’s successors as president, Hu Jintao, and Xi Jinping, are set to attend his funeral, according to a letter published by the state-backed Global Times. Hu Jintao was abruptly withdrawn from the CCP meeting last month.

However, international leaders and countries will not be invited to the celebration, according to the letter. The funeral committee stated that the decision was consistent with “Chinese custom.”

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