China’s former president Jiang Zemin cremated in Beijing | World News

China’s former president Jiang Zemin was cremated here on Monday in the presence of the top leaders of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) including President Xi Jinping.

Jiang, who had leukemia, died of multiple organ failure on November 30 in Shanghai at the age of 96. His body was flown here by a special flight last week from Shanghai. Xi and other leaders received the body in Beijing.

The remains of Jiang were cremated at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in western Beijing on Monday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

President Xi and other leaders of the Communist Party of China and the state paid their respects to Comrade Jiang at the Chinese PLA General Hospital before escorting Jiang’s body to the cemetery for cremation, the report said.

A memorial meeting to commemorate his life and achievements will be held at the Great Hall of People, the iconic building overlooking the sprawling Tiananmen square here on December 6 at 10 am local time.

Top leaders heading various organs of the CPC and the military will pay their respects.

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Jiang’s death comes as China sees some of its most serious protests since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations, with many protesting against harsh Covid restrictions in the country.

While Jiang was widely acclaimed for his leadership after Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, the two iconic leaders of the CPC, the deceased leader was credited with leading China out of isolation from the ignominy of the Chinese military, crushing the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.

He was also credited with putting China on a sustained path of economic development, laying the foundation to emerge as the second-largest economy in the world.

Jiang was on the verge of retirement as Shanghai party leader in 1989 when he was drafted by then-paramount leader leader Deng to pull together the party and nation. He succeeded Zhao Ziyang, who was dismissed by Deng due to his sympathy for the student-led Tiananmen Square protesters and was held under house arrest until his 2005 death.

In 13 years as party general secretary, China’s most powerful post, Jiang guided the country’s rise to economic power by welcoming capitalists into the ruling party and pulling in foreign investment after China joined the WTO. China passed Germany and then Japan to become the second-largest economy after the United States.

Jiang gave up his last official title in 2004 but remained a force behind the scenes in the wrangling that led to the rise of current President Xi, who took power in 2012.

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