The former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, who led his country out of isolation after the crushing of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square and supported economic reforms that led to a decade of explosive growth, has died aged 96.
Jiang died from leukaemia and multiple organ failure in Shanghai at 12.13pm local time, the official Xinhua news agency said.
A surprise choice to lead a divided Communist party after the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, Jiang saw China through a revival of market-oriented reforms, the return of Hong Kong from British rule in 1997 and Beijing’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001.
While China opened to the outside, Jiang’s government stamped out dissent at home. It jailed human rights, labour and pro-democracy activists and banned the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which it viewed as a threat to the Communist party’s monopoly on power.
More details soon …