Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin dies at 96

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CHINA - Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin has died at the age of 96, Chinese state media reported.

Jiang died at 12:13 pm (04:13 GMT) from leukemia and multiple organ failure in the city of Shanghai, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday, publishing a letter to the Chinese people by the ruling Communist Party, parliament, Cabinet, and the military announcing the death.

“Comrade Jiang Zemin’s death is an incalculable loss to our Party and our military and our people of all ethnic groups,” the letter read, saying the announcement was made with “profound grief”.

It described “our beloved Comrade Jiang Zemin” as an outstanding leader of high prestige, a great Marxist, statesman, military strategist and diplomat, and a long-tested communist fighter.

Jiang was plucked from obscurity to head China’s ruling Communist Party after the bloody Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989, but broke the country out of its subsequent diplomatic isolation, mending fences with the United States and overseeing an unprecedented economic boom.

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