Beijing, SANA- Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who led China into the 21st century, passed away on Wednesday in Shanghai.
Jiang was at the helm of the Communist Party from 1989 to 2002 and was the first national leader since Mao Zedong who was not personally part of Mao’s generation of revolutionary fighters. He was widely perceived as a compromise candidate to replace Deng Xiaoping, whose reformist term was marred by the mass protests on Tiananmen Square and the government crackdown that followed.
Under Jiang’s leadership, China continued its progress towards becoming an economic and political powerhouse. He oversaw the nation’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 and the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
The statesman’s last public appearance was in October 2019, when he stood beside President Xi Jinping and other dignitaries during a parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
He battled with leukemia and suffered from multiple organ failure prior to his passing.