Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin dies
Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin died Wednesday morning in Shanghai from leukemia and multiple organ failure, Chinese media reported. He was 96. Jiang is survived by his two sons and his wife, Wang Yeping.
Who was Jiang? Jiang was China’s president from 1993 to 2003 but held China’s top position as head of the ruling Communist Party from 1989 to 2002. He retired from the government in 2004. He came to power right after the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989 and presided over the return of Hong Kong from British rule in 1997. Under his watch, China expanded trade with the U.S. during the Clinton administration and eventually, in 2001, entered the World Trade Organization. Chinese state media dedicated 48 minutes of air time Wednesday to Jiang, calling his term a time of prosperity and hope. But his government still persecuted Christians and jailed democratic, labor, and human rights activists. He finished his career with the communist era’s first orderly succession. He handed his post as party leader over to Hu Jintao in 2002.
Dig deeper: Read Daniel R. Suhr’s column in WORLD Opinions on the U.S.’s response to recent protests in China.
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