Jiang Zemin, a former Chinese president, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 96 from leukaemia and organ failure, according to Chinese state media.
The government’s Communist Party, parliament, Cabinet, and military announced Jiang’s passing in a letter to the Chinese people at 12:13 p.m. (0413 GMT) in his hometown of Shanghai, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The letter stated that the announcement was made with ‘deep regret,’ and that ‘Comrade Jiang Zemin’s death is an unfathomable loss to our Party, our military, and our people of all ethnic groups.’
It praised ‘our beloved Comrade Jiang Zemin’ as an exceptional leader of high renown, a great Marxist, statesman, military strategist, and diplomat, as well as a seasoned communist combatant.
After the bloody Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989, Jiang was chosen from obscurity to lead China’s ruling Communist Party. Jiang not only helped the country emerge from diplomatic isolation, but he also repaired relations with the US and presided over an unheard-of economic boom.