Chinese people plunged into grief after hearing the news of the passing of their former leader Jiang Zemin, who died on November 30 in Shanghai at the age of 96.
People across the country paid a three-minute silent tribute on Tuesday morning when a mourning session was held at a solemn memorial meeting.
Addressing the memorial meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping Tuesday said "We hold Comrade Jiang Zemin in high esteem, and cherish the memory of Comrade Jiang Zemin because he devoted his life to the Chinese people, and worked tirelessly throughout his life to contribute to the cause of national independence and the liberation of the people, and to the prosperity of our country and the well-being of our people."
Jiang Zemin's great, glorious life
In his eulogy, Xi hailed Jiang's glorious life, saying the great achievements of the Party and country in the 13 years since the fourth plenary session of the 13th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee were inseparable from Jiang's great talent, key role, and exceptional art of political leadership as a Marxist statesman.
Xi pointed out in the face of a complex environment both abroad and at home, it was Jiang who lead the central collective leadership of CPC to unite the Party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups to unswervingly uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Apart from scoring great achievements in leading the modernization of the national defense and the armed forces, Jiang also pooled the wisdom of the whole Party to formulate the Theory of Three Represents, according to Xi.
The Theory of Three Represents highlights that the Party always represents the developmental demands of China's advanced productive forces, the orientation for China's advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the Chinese people.
Xi emphasized the theory's outstanding contribution stressing it further answers the questions of what socialism is and how to build it, and creatively addresses what kind of Party to build and how to build it. "It has deepened the understanding of rules to advance the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics and strengthen Party building in the new conditions."
Xi also praised Jiang for leading the country to tackle a series of international emergencies concerning China's sovereignty and security, overcoming difficulties and risks cropping up in the political and economic spheres and those brought by natural disasters, and in particular successfully coping with the impact of the Asian financial crisis and winning a complete victory in the disaster relief efforts during the floods in 1998.
Jiang guaranteed the great ship of China's reform, opening-up, and socialist modernization forges ahead on the right track, Xi said.
Condolences pour in from home, abroad
Shortly after Jiang Zemin's passing was announced, hundreds of bouquets of flowers could be seen at significant places in the life of the late Chinese leader.
Floral tributes were placed on the doorstep of Jiang's residence in his hometown of Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, as well as in a square at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, his alma mater.
On Monday, people from all walks of life in Beijing lined the streets to see off Comrade Jiang, expressing their deep sorrow as the hearse journeyed from the Chinese PLA General Hospital to the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery.
In Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and Macao SAR, people from all walks of life went to the Liaison Office of the two SARs to express their condolences.
Eric Chu, chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang party, as well as Taiwan compatriots on the mainland, also expressed their condolences over the passing of Jiang.
Leaders of many countries and international organizations have also expressed their deep condolences by phone, letter and other means to President Xi over the passing of Jiang.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that Jiang had firmly advocated China's international engagement, promoted China's great economic progress and its successful entry into the World Trade Organization, and led China in hosting the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women.
Turning grief into positive action
Noting Jiang's death as an inestimable loss to the Party, the military and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, Xi called on the whole Party, the entire military and the people of all ethnic groups to turn grief into strength, carry forward Jiang's legacy and express their grief with concrete actions.
He urged the country to learn from Jiang's revolutionary spirit, calling for striving in unity to build a modern socialist country in all respects and advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.
"The people are the fundamental force that determines our Party and country's future." Xi said when stressing the need to always put the people first. He also called the reform and opening-up a crucial move in determining the future and destiny of contemporary China.
"China's development cannot be achieved without the world, and the world also needs China for its prosperity," the Chinese president said, adding the country will remain committed to promoting peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, and work to build a new type of international relations and a human community with a shared future.
(Cover: A memorial meeting for Jiang Zemin, who passed away on November 30 at the age of 96, is held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, December 6, 2022. /CMG)