By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) – China on Tuesday paid tributes to late former President Jiang Zemin, observing a three-minute nationwide silence.
Jiang, 96, died of multiple organ failure in Shanghai last week. His mortal remains were flown to the capital Beijing where they were cremated at Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery on Monday.
President Xi Jinping, among other leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC), attended a memorial meeting for the deceased leader in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Daily South China Morning Post called the funeral service for Jiang “the biggest event of its kind” since the funeral for paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in 1997.
Addressing the state funeral service for the late leader, Xi said: “Comrade Jiang Zemin bade farewell to us. His reputation, achievement, and charisma will always be part of history and engraved in people’s hearts, generation after generation.”
Referring to his policy objectives and priorities, the Chinese president noted they were “in line with Jiang’s vision and a continuation of the socialist legacy” of his predecessors.
Wearing black bands on their arms, a day earlier, Xi, Premier Li Keqiang, and other CPC Central Committee members went to the Chinese PLA General Hospital to pay tributes to Jiang before his body was transferred to the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in western Beijing.
Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao, who also was reported to be unwell in recent weeks, also paid tributes to Jiang at the hospital.
However, Hu was reportedly missing at today’s funeral service addressed by Xi inside the Great Hall of the People – the highest governance seat in the world’s largest populated nation.
Jiang was at the forefront of Chinese politics for 15 years, serving as president from 1993 to 2003 and as general secretary of the CPC from 1989 to 2002. He was also the chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2004.
In 1985, he served as mayor of Shanghai and deputy secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee.
At the First Plenary Session of the 13th CPC Central Committee in 1987, he was elected to the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and served as secretary of the CPC's Shanghai Municipal Committee.
National mourning for the decease Communist leader comes at a time when China, under Xi’s third term as leader, faced unprecedented demonstrations against the country’s “Zero COVID-19” policy.
As a moment of “national unity” due to the passing away of Jiang, many cities, including the capital Beijing, relaxed measures against the coronavirus.
This, however, comes when the country is witnessing an uptick in daily coronavirus cases. The participants at the funeral were seen wearing masks.