Nov 30, 2022 - World

Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin dies at 96

Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin during a meeting in 1994.

Jiang Zemin during a meeting in 1994. Photo: Forrest Anderson/Getty Images

Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who rose to power after the Tiananmen Square protests and presided over years of explosive growth, died on Wednesday. He was 96.

Driving the news: The ruling Communist Party said he died of leukemia and multiple organ failure, state media reported.

  • Jiang served as president from 1993 to 2003, a period that included the transfer of Hong Kong to China and the country's entry into the World Trade Organization.

The big picture: His death comes as China's COVID response has fueled an unprecedented surge of public anger in the country.

  • The largest protests since Tiananmen in 1989 have been spreading across China in response to pandemic policies that have seen people locked into their apartments for weeks or even months at a time.

Flashback: Jiang was born in 1926, when China was a nominally democratic republic mired in poverty and ruled in part by foreign powers.

  • After World War II, he studied engineering at university instead of joining up to fight the civil war, which ended in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party took over.
  • His education served him well. he was among the ranks of the tough technocrats who oversaw some of the most dizzying years of China’s infrastructure development and economic growth.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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