Chinese President Xi Jinping put his most personal stamp yet on sweeping policy shifts in the world’s second-largest economy, ushering the end of a decade of consensus-based decision-making that saw reforms stagnate.
In the biggest expansion of economic freedoms since at least the 1990s, China’s leaders vowed to expand farmers’ land rights, loosen the one-child policy and encourage private investment in state businesses.
On the night of July 4, social networks in China lit up with a rumor that the former Chinese President, Jiang Zemin, had died. I watched the speculation flicker across my computer screen before deciding that, since I live only a few blocks from Jiang’s sprawling Shanghai compound, I should venture outside to see if anything was afoot.
Overseas media reports that former Chinese President Jiang Zemin died from illness are “pure rumor,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing “authoritative sources” it didn’t further identify.
China’s silence on Vice President Xi Jinping’s 12-day absence from public view contrasts with past rebuttals of speculation about top officials and is escalating concern over the nation’s leadership succession.