Jiang Zemin died at the age of 96

He stood for China's economic rise and opening up - in the name of the Communist Party and without tolerating any opposition. / Jiang Zemin died

Former head of state Jiang Zemin has now died, state media reports. / Jiang Zemin died

During a visit to the United States in 1997, the then Chinese head of state and party leader cheerfully recited an excerpt from a Beijing opera. This is how many remember Jiang Zemin. The General Secretary, who likes to sing, make music, chat – but also likes to argue.

In 2000, he berated Hong Kong journalists. The clip became an internet sensation and was clicked millions of times. In it, Jiang Zemin says: “I’m really worried about you! You’re only good at one thing: Wherever you go around the world, you always run faster than Western journalists, but the questions you ask are too easy and sometimes naive.”

Jiang Zemin spoke several foreign languages ​​and was known for happily communicating with visitors in their own language.

Born in eastern China in 1926 and educated in pre-communist Shanghai, he studied electrical engineering. He is said to have joined the party during his studies. In the 1950s, Jiang Zemin lived in the Soviet Union for some time.

Jiang Zemin died: Compromise candidate as CP General Secretary

Jiang Zemin led China from the late 1980s. At the end of June 1989, the previous mayor of Shanghai became general secretary of the sole ruling Communist Party. A compromise candidate after the bloody crackdown on democracy protests around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

In 1993, Jiang Zemin became head of state for two five-year terms. He managed to bring China out of its international isolation after the events of 1989 and significantly improved the People’s Republic’s diplomatic relations with the outside world.

The Hong Kong Promise: “One Country, Two Systems”

The transfer of the British colony of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic in 1997 also fell under Jiang Zemin’s time as head of state and party. At the handover ceremony, Jiang Zemin promised that the negotiated principle of “one country, two systems” with a high degree of autonomy would be implemented promptly.

Today, Hong Kong’s political autonomy is history. Under Jiang Zemin’s successor Xi Jinping, the Chinese special administrative region has largely been brought in line with the communist central government. Promised freedoms and rights for citizens were abolished.

Economic opening and development of the country

Under Jiang Zemin’s leadership, China continued to open up economically. The People’s Republic joined the World Trade Organization WTO in 2001 and experienced enormous economic growth over the next two decades, becoming the second largest economy in the world. Independent political scientist Wu Qiang explains: “Compared to many other developing countries or countries that have been democratized like the former Soviet Union, we can see that the transformation of China’s economy has been more efficient and faster.”

People’s living standards have improved very quickly. Wu Qiang believes that this is closely related to the management of technology experts. According to him, Jiang Zemin has made a tremendous contribution to this.

Jiang Zemin died: Communist Party control

Despite economic opening, Jiang Zemin maintained tight political control of the Communist Party in the country. His government repressed opposition figures and imprisoned human rights and democracy activists. Under his leadership, the Falun Gong spiritual movement, seen by the Communist Party as a threat to its claim to power, was also banned.

At the 16th Party Congress in 2002, Jiang Zemin made his last major speech as General Secretary of the Communist Party, and was succeeded by Hu Jintao as party leader. As planned, he replaced him as head of state a few months later.

Influence from the background

But in the background, Jiang Zemin continued to make politics and influence personnel decisions for many years. The current leader of the state and party, Xi Jinping, finally limited Jiang Zemin’s influence when he came to power ten years ago. The two were not considered friends.

While corruption flourished in many areas under Jiang Zemin, Xi Jinping cracked down on it. Many of Jiang Zemin’s followers fell victim to Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. In the last few years it had become quiet around Jiang Zemin.

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