India on Thursday expressed its condolences over the death of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, as Beijing announced a period of mourning and began preparations for a state memorial service to be held on December 6.
The Indian Embassy in Beijing in a message on Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent, said it expressed “deepest condolences on the passing of former President of the People’s Republic of China, Jiang Zemin.” Jiang passed away in Shanghai on Wednesday, aged 96.
The official Xinhua news agency said a funeral committee had been formed, headed by President Xi Jinping and comprising former leaders, including Mr. Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao and former Premiers Zhu Rongji and Wen Jiabao.
The committee announced on Thursday a memorial service will be held on December 6 at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, with a three minute-silence to be observed around the country and air defence sirens sounded for three minutes.
Jiang headed the ruling Communist Party until 2002 and presided over a decade of record economic growth. His passing comes at a sensitive moment for the party after days of protests in several cities and on more than 50 college campuses, calling for an end to lockdowns and the restrictions that are part of the “zero-COVID” policy that remains in place.
Authorities this week announced plans to ease some of the measures in response to the widespread public frustration over continued lockdowns in many parts of China.