The whole world's attention turned to the former leader of the economic giant - did Jiang Zemin die?
On July 1, Jiang was absent at an important event in Beijing commemorating the 90th anniversary of China's Communist Party. Other current and former leaders - a 94-year-old revolutionary veteran among them - were shown by state media in prominent attendance in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, reports the Associated Press.
A few days later, an important figure was urgently hospitalized into 301 Military Hospital located in Beijing, China. The figure is reportedly the former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who was rumored to be in sickness since his last public appearance in Jiangsu on May 14th.
According to Boxun News, at around 5 p.m. on July 3rd, a severe surveillance surrounded 301 Military Hospital in Beijing. Around 20 army-numbered Audi cars entered the hosptoal, which marks the largest general hospital under the auspices of the People's Liberation Army and is responsible for caring the majority of government leaders' health care.
Military officers and military vehicles were seen inside of the hospital, guarded strictly by armed officers.
On June 5th, multiple posts on Japanese blogs have suggested the brain death of Jiang.
On July 6, TV stations and media sources from Hong Kong and Korea reported the death of 84-year-old Jiang Zemin. In an interview with Nikkei, a Chinese Communist Party spokespesron denied the report. The foreign ministry in Beijing declined to comment on Jiang's health.
Under strict censorship especially on reports of the nation's leaders, online comments and reports on the death of Jiang Zemin in China were erased. Chinese internet censors reportedly have stepped in and prevented searches for or discussion of the topic.
Jiang Zemin served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2004. Since his resignation from the Commission, Jiang has maintained the second position of leadership after his successor Hu Jintao, the current president and top leader of the Communist Party of China.
China has experienced substantial development under Jiang's leadership, overseeing the return of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom and Macau from Portugal. Jiang's earlier legacy includes the handling of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.
Despite his advanced age, Jiang is believed to wield considerable influence over the party. Any questions about his health might be viewed as compromising the stability and dominance of the party itself.