In 1985 he became the mayor of Shanghai and later the head of the local Communist Party, propelling it to the national level.
Seen by many as a transitional figure, Jiang was praised for peacefully stopping protests in Shanghai at the time of the Tiananmen crackdown.
After Deng toured the economically developing southern provinces in 1992, Jiang became a firm advocate of “reform and opening up” promoted by his boss to lift the Chinese people out of poverty.
“Without first taking care of the problem [de la supervivencia económica]it will be difficult to achieve any other rights,” Jiang said in 1997.
On the streets of Shanghai, many people consulted by AFP did not want to comment on his death, and one of them indicated that it was “too sensitive” an issue.
“There were a lot of corruption problems at the time, but he was a lively and jovial person… Maybe that’s the image people have of him,” Beijing resident Wang Yi told AFP.
According to Professor Patricia Thornton of Oxford University, Jiang’s death “cannot fail to provoke reflection on some stark differences between the not-so-distant past and the reality of life in Xi’s China today,” she wrote in Twitter.
Jiang Zemin was married to Wang Yeping, his now widow, with whom they had two children, who also survive him.