Late Chinese leader Jiang hailed in memorial service
BEIJING (AP) — China’s communist leaders eulogized the late leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday as a loyal Marxist-Leninist who oversaw their country’s rapid economic rise while maintaining rigid party control over society.
President and party leader Xi Jinping praised Jiang in an hour-long address at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People as senior officials and military brass stood at attention.
Xi recalled Jiang’s lengthy political career, emphasizing his role in maintaining political stability in allusion to Jiang’s rise to be top leader just ahead of the army’s bloody suppression of the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Jiang died at age 96, just days after China’s largest street protests since 1989, which were driven by anger over draconian COVID-19 restrictions. Acting to quell the protests, authorities flooded city streets with security personnel and an unknown number of people have been detained.
Those attending Tuesday's memorial observed three minutes of silence and trading was paused on the county's stock exchanges.
On Monday, state broadcaster CCTV showed Xi, his predecessor Hu Jintao and others bowing before Jiang's coffin at a military hospital in Beijing before his body was sent for cremation at the Babaoshan cemetery, where many Chinese leaders are interred.
Jiang led China out of diplomatic isolation over the 1989 crackdown and supported economic reforms that spurred a decade of explosive growth. The economy has slowed as it matures and confronts an aging population, trade sanctions, high unemployment and the fallout from lockdowns and other anti-COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Xi.
A trained engineer and former head of China’s largest city, Shanghai, Jiang was president for a decade, and led the ruling Communist...