Jiang Zemin Biography

(Former President of China)

Birthday: August 17, 1926 (Leo)

Born In: Yangzhou, Jiangsu

Jiang Zemin was a former Chinese politician, best known for his key role in the success of the ‘Communist Party of China’ (CPC). He was the general secretary of the party from 1989 to 2002 and has also served as the chairman of the ‘Central Military Commission.’ In addition, he was also the president of the ‘People’s Republic of China’ from 1993 to 2003. Jiang’s political ascent was unexpected, as he climbed up the ladder as a “compromise candidate.” He rose to fame following the ‘Tiananmen Square’ protests that took place in 1989. The then-general secretary, Zhao Ziyang, was thrown out because of his support to the student movement. Soon, Jiang Zemin took his place, and in the following few years, he proved his strength as a political leader and turned into a “paramount leader.” The country grew rapidly on both the social and the economic fronts under his strong leadership. Although he stepped down from the post of the general secretary of the ‘CPC’ in 2002, he continued to influence the workings of the party till much later. 

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Jiang Ze Min, Jiangzemin

Died At Age: 96


Spouse/Ex-: Wang Yeping (m. 1949)

father: Jiang Shijun

mother: Wang Zhelan

siblings: Jiang Zehui

children: Jiang Mianheng, Jiang Miankang

Born Country: China

Presidents Political Leaders

Height: 5'9" (175 cm), 5'9" Males

Died on: November 30, 2022

place of death: Shanghai

More Facts

education: Yangzhou High School of Jiangxi Province, Zhongyang University, Chiao Tung University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

  • 1

    What is Jiang Zemin known for?

    Jiang Zemin is best known for serving as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002 and as the President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003.

  • 2

    What were some key events during Jiang Zemin's leadership?

    During Jiang Zemin's leadership, notable events included the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, China's admission to the World Trade Organization in 2001, and the crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

  • 3

    How did Jiang Zemin contribute to China's economic development?

    Jiang Zemin promoted economic reforms and the modernization of China, leading to significant growth in the country's economy during his tenure. He emphasized the importance of opening up to foreign investment and promoting technological advancements.

  • 4

    What was Jiang Zemin's foreign policy approach?

    Jiang Zemin's foreign policy approach was characterized by a focus on building relationships with other countries while maintaining China's sovereignty and national interests. He sought to improve China's global standing and engage in international diplomacy.

  • 5

    How did Jiang Zemin influence China's political landscape?

    Jiang Zemin played a key role in shaping China's political landscape by continuing the country's socialist system while introducing market reforms. He advocated for stability and unity within the Communist Party of China, overseeing a period of relative political continuity.

Childhood & Early Life
Jiang Zemin was born on August 17, 1926, in Yangzhou, Jiangsu. His ancestral home was in Jiangwan, a Chinese province that was home to several prominent Chinese intellectuals and politicians. Jiang was born at the peak of the Japanese occupation of China, right after the First World War. His uncle, who was also his foster father, was in the Chinese army and was considered a national hero after his death in the Second World War.
Zemin’s father, Jiang Shijun, worked at the publicity department of the Nanking regime, which was a Japanese puppet government. Shijun severed all ties with his family, and following this incident, Zemin’s uncle took him under his custody. After his uncle’s death in the World War, Zemin and the family experienced hard times. His father Shijun was a wealthy man but never came ahead to help.
Zemin enrolled in the electrical engineering program at the ‘National Central University’ in Nanjing and was later transferred to the ‘National Chiao Tung University.’ He finally graduated in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
His political aspirations grew while he was in college, and he is said to have become a worker of the ‘CPC’ while he was in college. He received his training at the ‘Stalin Automobile Works’ in Moscow. He frequently switched jobs and eventually acquired a spot on the ‘Central Committee of the Communist Party’ in 1983, as the ‘Minister of Electric Industries.’
In the mid-80s, he was offered the position of the ‘Mayor’ of Shanghai, one of the busiest metropolitan cities in China. His reign was considered to be very weak at that time. His haters believed that although he seemed useful, he was mostly an “empty vessel.”
Although he had a chaotic early political career, Jiang was known as an accomplished orator, who spoke several foreign languages, such as Russian, Romanian, and English. These skills helped him become popular with the foreign delegates and celebrities who visited China.
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Ascension to National Politics

Jiang Zemin’s foray into national politics happened in 1987, when he acquired a seat in the ‘Politburo’ of the ‘CPC Central Committee.’ However, his place was not earned, as it was a custom to have a seat reserved for the ‘Party Secretary’ of Shanghai. Soon, intense protests broke out in in Tiananmen Square, and the central government did not know the right way to handle the protestors.

The general secretary of the party, Zhao Ziyang, had liberal tendencies. He was not in tune with the principles of the ‘CPC.’ He was sympathetic toward the protestors. This made the party supreme Deng Xiaoping search for a replacement. Jiang had shut down the newspaper ‘World Economic Herald,’ which was a significantly brave step. Deng noticed this, and Jiang, who was serving as the ‘Shanghai Party Secretary’ at that time, was given the position of the general secretary of the ‘CPC.’

Although Jiang was now given the top position in the party’s leadership, he was not given enough power. Over time, he earned the respect of the party’s elders and propagated against the liberalization. He stated that in order for the ‘CPC’ to maintain its hold over the country, modernization and economic reforms needed to be put in place.

1993 was the year of economic reforms in China, as Jiang brought introduced a “socialist market economy,” which was step forward from the existing socialist economy toward a government-regulated capitalist market economy. With his effective policies, he earned the confidence of Deng and diminished the ‘Central Advisory Committee.’ In 1993, he contested the ‘Presidency’ elections.

In March 1993, he was named the fifth president of the ‘Republic of China.’ In the 90s, following the economic reforms, the country faced many issues related to corruption and unequal distribution of wealth. It further gave rise to a growing rate of unemployment in the country. The migration of people from rural areas to urban areas was taking place in great numbers, and the entire country was on the verge of collapsing.

Determined to turn the course of the events around, Jiang introduced reforms to bring stability to China, in 1996. He used the media, which was mostly state-controlled, to his benefit. He gave interviews to foreign media houses too and further halted the activities of almost all his political rivals. This helped him take complete control of the country, and the death of Deng Xiaoping further elevated his position.

Well aware of the requirement of a strong economic wave in the country, he handed over the economic governance of the country to his close ally Zhu Rongji, and they went through the Asian financial crisis of 1997. However, with time, China turned into a strong economic nation and maintained an annual GDP growth of 8%, eventually becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

China ended up becoming the fastest-growing nation in terms of per-capita income, and this rapid development further raised eyebrows around the world. The remarkable growth of China helped it become a superpower within two decades. What further strengthened China’s hold in the international arena was its membership of the ‘World Trade Organization’ and subsequently, China’s win of the bid to host the 2008 ‘Olympic Games’ in Beijing.

In 2002, Jiang finally vacated the post of the general secretary of ‘CPC,’ but retained his position as the chairman of the ‘Central Military Commission.’ In September 2004, he resigned from that post too, thereby losing all of his official power in the party. However, he remained a key figure and an advisor to the party’s new leadership.

Jiang Zemin was a controversial figure in Chinese politics. He faced several charges of corruption and inefficiency during his tenure as the president and the general secretary of his party. Jiang’s term also saw a lot of instability due to the introduction of economic reforms, which took place at a rapid pace.

Family & Personal Life

Jiang Zemin married Wang Yeping in 1949. The couple has two sons: Jiang Mianheng and Jiang Miankang.

Jiang Zemin died of lukemia and multiple organ failure on 30 November 2022, at the age of 96.

Facts About Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin was known for his love of singing and performing in public. He often sang traditional Chinese songs and even performed with other world leaders during international events.

Jiang Zemin was a skilled calligrapher and had a deep appreciation for Chinese culture and arts. He often showcased his calligraphy skills in public, demonstrating his dedication to preserving traditional Chinese art forms.

Jiang Zemin was known for his unique fashion sense, often wearing colorful and extravagant suits that stood out among other world leaders. His bold fashion choices added a touch of individuality to his public appearances.

Jiang Zemin was an avid reader and had a passion for literature. He often quoted Chinese poetry and literature in his speeches, demonstrating his intellectual depth and cultural knowledge.

Jiang Zemin had a talent for languages and was known for his proficiency in English, which he often used during diplomatic meetings and speeches to communicate with foreign leaders. His language skills helped him establish strong international relationships during his time in office.

See the events in life of Jiang Zemin in Chronological Order

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