July 7 - Rumors abound that former Chinese President Jiang Zemin has passed away - a claim denied by 'authoritative sources', says state media. Sunita Rappai reports.
Rumours that former Chinese President Jiang Zemin has passed away at the age of 84 are dominating the country today. The media furore began on Wednesday when a Hong Kong news channel announced his death. Beijing is yet to comment - but the rumours are being denied by 'authoritative sources', according to state media. China's internet has since been clogged with stories of his demise. But searches on China's equivalent of Twitter, Weibo, have been blocked by censors. Jiang, who came to power after the Tiannemen Square protests of 1989, held the Communist Party's top spot until 2002. Ironically, he was not fond of the Hong Kong media, famously lashing out at them for incompetence. SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FORMER PRESIDENT JIANG ZEMIN, SAYING: "The media should improve their reporting skills. Do you understand me? I am so concerned about you. There is one good thing about you reporters, that is you follow people around wherever they go, and you even travel faster than them. But the questions you ask sometimes are too simple, sometimes naive. You understand?" Jiang is known to have been in poor health recently with reports that he was in intensive care in Beijing following a heart attack. Sunita Rappai, Reuters