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The former leader of China, who was Jiang who came to power after the bloody protests of '89, dies

The former leader of China, who was Jiang who came to power after the bloody

Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who came to power after the Tiananmen Square protests, has died aged 96. State media said he died shortly after noon in Shanghai.

One of the key figures in Chinese history in recent decades, he presided over a time when China opened up on a large scale and saw rapid development.

His death comes as China grapples with protests, which are not a common occurrence there.

A statement from the Chinese Communist Party said that Jiang Zemin could not withstand leukemia. It further added that he was known "as an outstanding leader of high prestige" and "a tried and tested communist fighter".

Jiang came to power after a bloody 1989 crackdown on protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square led to China's international isolation.

The event sparked a fierce power struggle at the top of the Communist Party between hard-line reactionaries and reformers.

This allowed Jiang, who had initially been seen as a slacker bureaucrat, to rise to high positions. He was chosen as a compromise leader, hoping to unite hard-liners and more liberal elements.

Under his leadership, a formidable economy was created, the Communists tightened their grip on power, and China took its place at the high table of world powers.

He oversaw the peaceful handover of Hong Kong in 1997 and China's entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, which integrated the country into the global economy. He was criticized for harshly suppressing the Falun Gong religious sect in 1999, which was seen as a threat to the Communist Party.

During his time in power, Jiang sought to strengthen ties with the US, visiting the country several times and offering then-President George W Bush cooperation in Washington's "war on terror" after the 9/11 attacks.

He memorably crowned Elvis Presley at a global summit and went swimming off the coast of Hawaii. In his later years he withdrew from government and was rarely seen in public.

Source: BBC

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