Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin has died at age 96, according to Chinese state TV.
Jiang died in Shanghai, state TV reported on its website. A letter was published from the ruling Communist Party, parliament, Cabinet and the military announcing the death.
“Comrade Jiang Zemin’s death is an incalculable loss to our Party and our military and our people of all ethnic groups,” the letter said.
Jiang led China after the country was shaken by the crushing of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1989.
He saw China through history-making changes including a revival of market-oriented reforms, the return of Hong Kong from British rule in 1997 and Beijing’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001.
Even as China opened to the outside, Jiang’s government stamped out dissent at home. It jailed human rights, labor and pro-democracy activists and banned the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which it viewed as a threat to the Communist Party’s monopoly on power.
Jiang is survived by his two sons and his wife, Wang Yeping, who worked in government bureaucracies in charge of state industries.
The Associate Press contributed to this report.