Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin died today at the age of 96 from leukaemia and multiple organ failure, Chinese state media reported.
Jiang died in his hometown of Shanghai, the official Xinhua news agency said, publishing a letter to the Chinese people from the ruling Communist Party, parliament, cabinet and army announcing the death. “The death of Comrade Jiang Zemin is an incalculable loss to our Party, our military and to our people of all ethnic groups,” the letter said.
It described Jiang Zemin as an outstanding leader of great prestige, a great Marxist, statesman, military strategist, diplomat and a long-time communist fighter.
Jiang was plucked from obscurity to head the Communist Party of China after the bloody Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989, but he led the country out of its subsequent diplomatic isolation, mending fences with the United States and overseeing an unprecedented economic boom.