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China ex-president Jiang Zemin dies aged 96

Chinese former president Jiang Zemin has died at the age of 96.

Chinese former president Jiang Zemin has died at the age of 96. Photo: AAP

Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin has died at the age of 96 of leukaemia and multiple organ failure, Chinese state media reports.

Mr Jiang died on Wednesday afternoon in his home city of Shanghai, the official Xinhua news agency said, 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.

Mr Jiang was plucked from obscurity to head China’s ruling Communist Party after the bloody Tiananmen crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in 1989.

He broke the country out of its subsequent diplomatic isolation, mending fences with the United States and overseeing an unprecedented economic boom.

He proved a transformative leader. In 13 years as Communist Party general secretary, the top position in China, he guided China’s rise to global economic power by welcoming capitalists into the Communist Party and pulling in foreign investment after China joined the WTO.

He presided over the nation’s rise as a global manufacturer, the return of Hong Kong and Macao from Britain and Portugal and the achievement of a long-cherished dream: winning the competition to host the Olympic Games after an earlier rejection.

– AAP

Topics: China
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