Former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin has died at the age of 96. The state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

The qualified electrical engineer Zemin held the office of President of China from 1993 to 2003. From 1989 to 2002 he was General Secretary of the Communist Party and until 2004 he was also Chairman of the People’s Liberation Army.

Zemin is historically a controversial figure. As a politician, he supported the bloody massacre by the Chinese state and party leadership in 1989 on Tiananmen Square in Beijing against students and workers.

While still a student in Shanghai, Zemin joined the Communist Party and worked his way from Minister for Mechanical Engineering Industry to the center of the political power apparatus. Jiang Zemin passed away on Wednesday at the age of 96.