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JUST IN: Former president dies at 96 [PHOTOS]

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Former Chinese President, Jiang Zemi, is dead.

POLITICS NIGERIA learned that Zemi died on Wednesday morning aged 96.

He died of leukemia and multiple organ failure in Shanghai.

The late Chinese leader presided over a time when the country opened up on a vast scale and saw high-speed growth.

Jiang rose to power after the bloody 1989 crackdown on protestors in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, which led to China being ostracised internationally.

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

It led to Jiang, who had originally been seen as a plodding bureaucrat, being elevated to high office. He was chosen as a compromise leader, in the hope he would unify hardliners and more liberal elements.

Under his stewardship, the Communists tightened their grip on power and China took its place at the top table of world powers.

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