China Denies Rumors about the Death of Former President Jiang Zemin

The information circulated on the death of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin are “pure speculation“, reported Thursday the official Xinhua news agency, quoting “reliable sources”.

Former head of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and State, Jiang Zemin did not participate in the celebrations of 90th anniversary of the CPC on July 1, prompting much speculation about his declining health.

In an attempt to put an end to rumors, the Internet censors in China have recently blocked search on the name of Jiang Zemin on the micro-blogging service Weibo, as well as the words “secretary general” and “myocardial infarction”, among others.

Chinese media in Hong Kong and abroad had announced Wednesday the death of the 84-year-old man who led China from 1989 to 2003.

The Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun also reported Thursday that Jiang Zemin died in Beijing, citing “a source involved in the Sino-Japanese relations.”

Jiang Zemin was seen for the last time in public in 2009. He retired from his last official title as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission in 2004.

He had begun withdrawal from power in 2002 after leaving the post of General Secretary of the Party and the president in the following year.