Friday, January 27, 2023

China honors late former President Jiang

BEIJING ( Associated Press) – China’s leaders Tuesday fired the late Jiang Zemin, whom they described as a staunch Marxist-Leninist who oversaw the country’s rapid economic growth while maintaining the Communist Party’s tight control over society. Of.

President and current party leader Xi Jinping praised Jiang in an hour-long speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing as high-ranking officials, military commanders and foot soldiers listened attentively.

Xi emphasized Jiang’s role in maintaining political stability, pointing to his sudden rise to power just before a violent 1989 military assault on a student-led pro-democracy movement centered in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

“Comrade Jiang Zemin stressed that our party leads the people in a great struggle to build socialist modernization, and it will inevitably face many difficult situations,” Xi said.

He said, “The fraught situation inside and outside the country and the confrontation and struggle between different social systems and different ideological systems often put every member of our party to the test.”

Jiang died at the age of 96, just days after the biggest street protest since 1989, due to strict restrictions against COVID-19. Authorities filled the streets with security agents to quell the protests, and an unknown number of detainees were held.

Those attending Tuesday’s funeral observed a three-minute silence and trading in the country’s stock markets came to a standstill.

State broadcaster CCTV showed Xi, his predecessor Hu Jintao and others at a military hospital in Beijing on Monday, bending over Jiang’s body, lying on flowers and green branches and draped in a party flag. Jing’s body was sent for cremation to the Babosan Revolutionary Cemetery, where many Chinese leaders are buried.

The crowd stood silently as Jiang’s glass coffin passed. The funeral procession moved slowly amid tight security, possibly to prevent a repeat of the recent protests.

Jiang led China out of diplomatic isolation from the 1989 rift and pushed for economic reforms that fueled a decade of explosive growth. As it matured and the economy slowed due to a growing population, trade restrictions, high unemployment and the effects of Xi’s lockdown and other COVID-19 restrictions.

Jiang, an engineer by training and who led the country’s largest city, Shanghai, was president for a decade and led the Communist Party for 13 years until 2002. After taking over from reformist leader Deng Xiaoping, he oversaw Hong Kong’s return to British government in 1997 and Beijing’s admission to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

The former president died of leukemia and multiple organ failure in Shanghai on November 30, according to state media. The party declared him a “great proletarian revolutionary” and a “proven communist fighter”.

An official funeral for Jiang in Hong Kong drew large crowds over the weekend, mostly from older Hong Kongers who credited him with a smooth transition from British to Chinese rule. The handover was done under a Chinese promise that Hong Kong would maintain its social, economic and legal order for 50 years.

Drastic cuts to freedom of speech and assembly, electoral reforms that effectively stifled political opposition, and the imposition of a draconian national security law under Xi have nullified the “one country, two systems” paradigm that The promise was made during Jiang’s tenure.

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Associated Press writer Kanis Leung in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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