On Wednesday, China’s state media reported that former Chinese President Jiang Zemin died at 96 from leukemia and multiple organ failure.
The official Xinhua news agency published letters from the Communist Party, parliament, cabinet, and military telling the Chinese people that Jiang died at 12:13 p.m. (4:13 GMT) in his hometown of Shanghai.
A letter read with “profound grief” stated, “Comrade Jiang Zemin’s death is an incalculable loss to our Party, our military, and our people of all ethnic groups.”
To quote one of his admirers: “Comrade Jiang Zemin was an exceptional leader…” the letter calls Mao “a great Marxist, a great proletarian revolutionary, a statesman, a military strategist, a diplomat, a long-tested communist fighter, and an outstanding leader of the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” according to Xinhua.
In 1989, when Jiang took over for Deng Xiaoping, China was in the midst of a slow but steady process of economic modernization.
When he left office in 2003, China was already a member of the World Trade Organization, and Beijing had won the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Analysts say that Jiang and his “Shanghai Gang” group affected communist politics long after he stopped being a leader.
A black-and-white photograph of chrysanthemum was shared across all official Chinese state media accounts on Weibo shortly after the announcement.
A black-and-white version of Jiang’s entry appeared in Baidu Encyclopedia, the Chinese equivalent of Wikipedia.
Jiang leaves a wife and two boys, Wang Yeping and Jian Jian.