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Xi Jinping Hails Late Jiang Zemin’s Role in Overseeing Rise in China’s Economy

The President lauds Jiang for upholding the rule of socialism while persisting with economic reforms and tightening ideological controls.
Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin. Image Courtesy:  Wikimedia Commons

Beijing: President Xi Jinping paid rich tributes to the late Jiang Zemin for overseeing China’s rise as a major economic powerhouse and guiding the ruling Communist Party through some of its toughest challenges at a memorial meeting held here on Tuesday.

The hour-long memorial meeting was held at the ornate Great Hall of the People to commemorate the legacy of former Chinese President Jiang who had leukaemia and died of multiple organ failure on November 30 in Shanghai at the age of 96.

Jiang was the President and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 1989 to 2002, regarded as the toughest time for the country and the CPC.

“Comrade Jiang Zemin bade farewell to us,” Xi said in a speech at the memorial meeting.

“His reputation, achievement and charisma will always be a part of history and engraved in people’s hearts, generation after generation,” he said.

Praising the late leader for handling a host of challenges at home and abroad, Xi mentioned the political turmoil in the late 80s and early 90s, a euphemism for the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in which thousands of student protesters demanding democracy and freedom of speech were killed.

Jiang was widely regarded as the Chinese leader who managed to end China’s pariah status internationally following the Tiananmen crackdown, besides steering the country through the economic crisis.

Xi praised Jiang for unswervingly upholding the rule of socialism while persisting with economic reforms and tightening the ideological controls, laying a solid foundation for the development of the country during his tenure.

While eulogising Jiang, Xi called on the party, military and the people to rally around the CPC under his leadership to achieve the rejuvenation of the Chinese people.

On Tuesday, Xi and other senior leaders of the CPC including former Premier Wen Jiabao and the top military officials besides Jiang's widow, Wang Yeping, attended a nationally televised memorial service of Jiang. 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-19 restrictions in the country. Significantly, ahead of Jiang's memorial service, Beijing city authorities announced major relaxations in testing norms under the zero-Covid policy.

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

In 13 years as the 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 World Trade Organisation (WTO).

China overtook Germany and then Japan to become the second-largest economy after the United States.

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