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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin dies aged 96

China’s former leader Jiang Zemin, who came to power after the Tiananmen Square protests, has died at 96.

State media said he died just after noon on Wednesday.

One of the major figures of Chinese history in recent decades, he presided over a time where China opened up on a vast scale and saw high-speed growth.



He oversaw the peaceful handover of Hong Kong in 1997, but was criticised for a heavy-handed crackdown on the religious sect Falun Gong in 1999.

Jiang rose to power after the bloody 1989 crackdown on protestors in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, which led to China being ostracised internationally.

The event sparked a bitter power struggle at the top of China’s Communist Party between hard-line reactionaries and reformers.



It led to Jiang, who had originally been seen as a plodding bureaucrat, being elevated to high office. He was chosen as a compromise leader, in the hope he would unify hardliners and more liberal elements.



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