Jiang Zemin died on Wednesday. He was the leader who got China out of its isolation after the army crushed the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. He also supported economic reforms that led to a decade of explosive growth.
Jiang, who was president for ten years until 2003 and led the ruling Communist Party for 13 years until 2002, died in Shanghai of leukemia and failure of several organs, according to state media. The party called him a “great proletarian revolutionary” and a “long-tested communist fighter.” For more information on Viralstimes.com!
Who is Jiang Zemin?
His death happened after the party had its biggest public show of opposition in decades when thousands of people called for leader Xi Jinping to step down during protests over anti-virus controls over the weekend.
Jiang was a surprise choice to lead a divided Communist Party after the chaos of 1989. At first, he was thought to be a temporary leader. He drafted when he was about to retire because Deng Xiaoping, who was in charge then, told him to bring the party and country together. But he changed everything.
In his 13 years as Communist Party general secretary, China’s top job, he helped the country become an economic powerhouse worldwide by letting capitalists join the party and attracting foreign investment after China joined the World Trade Organization.
He was in charge when the country became a world leader in manufacturing, when Hong Kong and Macao were returned to China from Britain and Portugal, and when China won the right to host the Olympic Games, which had been a long-held goal.
Even as China became more open to the rest of the world, Jiang’s government crushed any opposition. It locked up human rights, labour, and pro-democracy activists and banned the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which the ruling party saw as a threat to its monopoly on power.
In 2004, Jiang gave up his last official title, but he still had a lot of power behind the scenes.
Jiang still had a say in who got key jobs because of his extensive network of contacts, many of whom had gotten ahead in their careers with the help of the former president.
Jiang tried to keep his power after he stopped being president by keeping his job as chairman of the Central Military Commission, which is in charge of China’s 2 million-strong military. This setup was weird from the start, and Jiang finally gave up the job in late 2004, after people said he could split the government if there were a crisis.
Even though Hu wasn’t his first choice to take over, Jiang was thought to have done an excellent job of putting several of his friends on the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, which took over in 2012 with Xi as its leader.
In public, Jiang was often seen as a happy person. He liked to sing and play the piano. He spoke English slowly but with determination. When foreigners came to visit, he would read the Gettysburg Address, and when he went to Britain, he tried to get Queen Elizabeth II to sing karaoke.
But the chubby, glasses-wearing leader also proved to be a tough political fighter who defied predictions that he would only be in charge of China for a short time.
Jiang was born on August 17, 1926, in Yangzhou, a wealthy city in the east. His family was from the middle class, but official biographies don’t talk much about that. Instead, they focus on his uncle and “adopted” father, Jiang Shangqing, who was an early revolutionary and died in battle in 1939.
After getting his degree from Jiaotong University’s electrical machinery department in Shanghai in 1947, Jiang moved up to state-controlled industries. He worked in a factory that made food, then in a soap factory, and then in China’s most significant car factory.
Jiang worked on a farm for a while during Mao’s radical Cultural Revolution, just like many other technocratic officials.
Soon, he got back on track with his career, and by 1983 he was named minister of the electronics industry, a key but lagging industry that the reformist government hoped to bring back to life by attracting foreign investment. In the 1980s, when Jiang was mayor of Shanghai, he impressed foreigners as a leader from a new generation of Chinese leaders who looked to the outside world.
In 1989, Deng chose Jiang to replace Zhao Ziyang as party general secretary. Zhao supported the Tiananmen Square protesters and was kicked out of the party.
Jiang is survived by his two sons and his wife, Wang Yeping, who worked in government offices in charge of state industries.