China Mourns Former Leader Jiang Zemin

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Chinese newspapers turned their front pages black on Thursday and flags were put at half mast in mourning for the death of former president Jiang Zemin, while well-wishers laid piles of bouquets outside his childhood home.

Jiang died in his home city of Shanghai just after noon on Wednesday of “leukaemia and multiple organ failure,” aged 96.

His death has prompted a wave of nostalgia for the relatively more liberal times he oversaw.

A date has yet to be set for his funeral.

The front page of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily devoted its whole front page to Jiang, and carried a large picture of him wearing his trademark “toad” glasses.

Beloved comrade Jiang Zemin will never be forgotten,” it said in its headline, above a story republishing the official announcement of his death.

Flags flew at half mast on key government buildings and Chinese embassies abroad, while the home pages of e-commerce platforms Taobao and JD.com also turned black and white.

Mourners laid piles of bouquets of white chrysanthemums, a traditional Chinese symbol for mourning, outside Jiang’s childhood home in the eastern city of Yangzhou, a witness said, declining to be identified given sensitivities about discussing anything political in China. Reports said.

Some people knelt down in front of his house in a show of respect, the person added.

Grandpa Jiang, rest in peace,” read a note on one bouquet.

In Shanghai, where Jiang died, police closed off streets but hundreds of people still tried to catch a glimpse of a vehicle thought to be carrying his body, according to images that were shared on Chinese social media.

In one picture, people held up a black and white banner reading “Comrade Jiang Zemin you will forever live in our hearts.”

Foreigners Not Invited
But foreign governments, political parties and “friendly personages” will not be invited to send delegations or representatives to China to attend the mourning activities, the official Xinhua news agency said.

At one of the largest foreign banks in China, “employees have been asked to wear black in meetings with regulators, senior staff have been asked not to be photographed at parties and the bank has put marketing activities on hold for 10 days,” a senior executive at the lender said, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media. Reports said.

 

Reuters /Shakirat Sadiq

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