Chinese state media highlighted Jiang Zemin’s credentials as a Marxist ‘revolutionary’ as a state memorial for the former leader began and official bodies struck a delicate balance in remembering one of the nation’s most powerful people at a memorial service on Tuesday.
“Comrade Jiang Zemin was an outstanding leader…he was a great Marxist, proletarian revolutionary, politician, militarist, diplomat and a proven communist soldier,” according to a front-page editorial in People’s Daily, the official party spokesperson.
China faces the delicate task of honoring Jiang without creating too stark a contrast to current President Xi Jinping, who has steadily centralized power, including securing an unprecedented third term in October.
“The party, the army and the people… feel boundless sadness… We love and esteem Comrade Jiang because he gave his life and spirit for the Chinese people,” Xi said during the meeting. memorial service Tuesday morning.
Jiang’s body was cremated at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing on Monday morning, after being transferred from Shanghai. Xi and other top leaders paid their last respects to Jiang at a ceremony that day.
On Tuesday, China paid tribute to the former leader with a memorial service broadcast live from the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and a three-minute silence, announced in some cities including Shanghai where Jiang served as party secretary, by howling sirens.
The memorial proceedings were also marked by an appearance by Hu Jintao, Xi’s predecessor as leader, who was unceremoniously led out of the Great Hall of the People in front of party members and the world media during the Chinese Party Congress in october. Hu’s dismissal had sparked speculation that he was being expelled from the party.