China's ex-president misses party, but is he dead?

Former President Jiang Zemin applauds at an event marking the 30th anniversary of economic reforms at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Dec. 18, 2008. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Former Chinese President Jiang Zemin
Former President Jiang Zemin applauds at an event marking the 30th anniversary of economic reforms at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Dec. 18, 2008.
Getty

China's Communist Party staged lavish televised ceremonies last weekend to celebrate its 90th birthday, featuring flashy dance numbers, patriotic songs, and hours of solemn speeches. But many couldn't help notice one key element was missing: Where was former president Jiang Zemin?

Amid debate, China's Communist Party turns 90

The 84 year old leader has only made a handful of appearances on the national stage since he stepped down from his roles as China's President in 2003 and as Chairman of the Chinese military in 2004. But his unexpected absence at the anniversary festivities raised eyebrows among Party watchers.

Rumors emerged on Chinese websites soon after the 90th anniversary TV specials ended. But within a day, they were wiped away by government censors.

  • Celia Hatton

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