Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin died at the age of 96 last November 30. Jiang died in his home in Shanghai due to leukemia and multiple organ failure. He is known for leading China for a decade of rapid economic growth after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest. People turned nostalgic over his death as they look back at Jiang’s more liberal era.
The ruling Communist Party, parliament, Cabinet and the military penned a letter to the people of China saying that Jiang’s death is a profound loss to the country’s Party, military, and ethnic groups.
The former president’s death comes at a turbulent time in China where the government is trying to keep street protests at bay. Chinese residents are displeased with President Xi Jinping’s strict zero-COVID policy two years into the pandemic.
Residents expressed nostalgia for Jiang’s era as it symbolizes hope for political and economic freedom. They turned to Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, to share their sentiments on Jiang’s death. Media sites People’s Daily and Xinhua’s websites turned black and white in mourning as well.
During his time as president, Jiang mended China’s relationship with the United States, breaking the country out of diplomatic isolation. He was president from 1993 to 2003, and headed the ruling Communist Party from 1989 to 2002.