Since last night, Chinese social networks have been abuzz that former president Jiang Zemin is dead.
Speculations about the 84-year-old’s health began after Jiang missed July 1 celebrations of the Chinese Communist Party, and heightened after a story announcing his imminent death from either a heart attack or lung cancer appeared in the Epoch Times newspaper, a publication funded by the banned Chinese religious group Falun Gong.
But half an hour after rumors began, China's censors went to work, banning search terms like “301,” the military hospital in Beijing where Jiang may be located, and “brain dead.” Searches for these words returned the message: “According to relevant policies and laws, the search results are not shown below.”
On Wednesday, a Chinese TV network reported that Jiang was dead, but did not cite a source or confirmation.
The Post’s China correspondent Keith Richburg tweeted:
Amid much speculation, Hongkong TV running what appears to be an obituary of Jiang Zemin, with no official confirmation: http://t.co/EJ1FiWT
A Hong Kong television network’s Web site ran what appeaed to be an obituary, but did not give a source:
Similar rumors surfaced in June of last year and were proved not to be true.
Jiang Zemin, former supreme leader of the Chinese Communist Party, ruled the country for a decade following the crackdown in Tiananmen Square.
We’ll keep you updated as soon as we hear more.