China’s former leader Jiang Zemin has died at 96.

According to state media, he died shortly after 12:00 GMT (04:00 GMT) in Shanghai on Wednesday.

Jiang presided over an era when China was opening up on a large scale and experienced high-speed growth.

His death occurs as China experiences some of the most serious protests since Tiananmen. Many are protesting against Covid restrictions.

According to a Chinese Communist Party statement, he had died from leukaemia and multiple organ failure.

He was also acknowledged as an “exceptional leader with high prestige” who is also a “long-tested Communist fighter”.

In tribute to the victims, state media outlets such as the Global Times or the Xinhua news agencies, have made their websites black and white.

After the 1989 bloody crackdown on protesters around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, Jiang was elected to power. This led to China’s exile internationally.

This event led to a bitter power struggle between reformers and hard-line reactionaries at the top of Communist Party.

Jiang, originally viewed as a bureaucratic plodding bureaucrat was elevated to high office. In the hopes of unifying hardliners with more liberal elements, he was selected as a compromise leader.

After the Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy protesters, 1989, Jiang was rescued from the ashes to lead China’s Communist Party. He helped the country overcome its diplomatic isolation and mended fences with the United States, overseeing an unprecedented economic boom.

From 1993 to 2003, he was president of China. However, he held the top position in China as head, the ruling Communist Party from 1989, and handed that job to Hu in 2002. He resigned his position as military chief in 2004 after assuming it in 1989.

Sources close to the leadership said that Jiang would see his predecessor’s supporters everywhere he looked when he retired.

Jiang had assembled China’s most powerful leadership group, the Politburo Standing Committee with his own protégées, many of whom were from the so-called “Shanghai Gang”.

Nevertheless, Jiang retired in 2004 from his last post as chairman of the military commission. Hu consolidated his control, neutralized the Shanghai Gang, and succeeded in anointing Xi as his successor.


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