China’s highly political tribute to Jiang Zemin

The body of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin arrives in Beijing from Shanghai on a special flight on December 1, 2022.

More than a simple eulogy, it is a real political speech that Xi Jinping delivered on Tuesday, December 6, on the occasion of the tribute that the Communist Party paid to Jiang Zemin, secretary of the CCP from June 1989 to November 2002, President of the Republic from March 1993 to March 2003 and Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the CPC from November 1989 to September 2004. Aged 96, Jiang Zemin died on November 30 in Shanghai. He was buried on December 5 in the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in western Beijing.

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Speaking at the People’s Palace in front of thousands of Communist officials who all wore one or even two anti-Covid masks, Xi Jinping welcomed this “prominent leader” who happened “resolutely opposed” to “serious political disturbances which occurred in the country at the turn of the spring and summer of 1989”. Then in charge of the Party in Shanghai, Jiang Zemin had indeed been chosen in June 1989 by Deng Xiaoping to restore order in the aftermath of the massacre of the students in Tiananmen Square, but also to modernize the economy.

Jiang Zemin led the suppression of student protesters after 1989 and ten years later also severely suppressed the Falun Gong movement. But it also led China to join the World Trade Organization. Xi Jinping spoke the word” opening “ about ten times in fifty minutes. But, while Jiang Zemin had brought China closer to the United States, Xi Jinping called on the CCP to “moving forward hand in hand with all the progressive forces in the world” and to “to promote a new type of international relations”.

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Suspension of financial markets

As a sign that the Party directs all activities in China, the sirens not only sounded throughout the country at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the start of the tribute ceremony, but the financial markets of Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong , just like online video games, interrupted their activity for three minutes. Since the announcement of the death on November 30 and until December 7, almost all Chinese Internet portals, including that of McDonald’s, are black.

Jiang Zemin’s death sparked many comments on Chinese social media. In a thinly veiled criticism of Xi Jinping, many netizens pay tribute to this leader who spoke Russian and English and gave Chinese people access to Japanese manga and James Cameron’s film Titanic. “Jiang was open-minded, modest and funny. He accepted criticism of himself and of the administration. One could crack jokes at him at dinner without fear of being arrested in the night.”, writes a user. But another calls for relativizing these praises. “Don’t you remember the massive job cuts of the 1990s? It’s pathetic that our impressions of Jiang have turned positive simply because Xi’s leadership is even worse. »

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