Top politicians in Hong Kong on Wednesday paid tribute to former President Jiang Zemin, with Chief Executive John Lee expressing deep sorrow over his passing.
The late leader died of leukaemia and multiple organ failure in Shanghai at 12.13pm on Wednesday, according to an announcement made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and other state organs.
Lee highlighted Jiang’s massive contributions to the nation, saying he broke new ground for the country's reform and opening up, and noted he made great contributions to the smooth return of Hong Kong and Macau to the motherland.
"Being the core of the Communist Party of China's third generation of central collective leadership and the principal founder of the Theory of Three Represents, President Jiang was widely recognised as an outstanding leader with high prestige,” he said in a statement.
"On behalf of the HKSAR, I extend my deepest condolences to President Jiang's family.”
The vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), CY Leung, said Hong Kong had overcome various difficulties under Jiang’s "personal care and instructions".
"After the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, President Jiang Zemin continued to care about and support Hong Kong's economic development, safeguarding Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability," the former chief executive wrote on social media.
Leung, who sits on Jiang's funeral committee, also praised the late president for providing Hong Kong with growth opportunities through opening up and modernising the mainland.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's sole delegate to the National People's Congress Standing Committee, Tam Yiu-chung, recalled one of Jiang's visits to Hong Kong, pointing out that the late president had received a warm reception from people during a spontaneous visit to a shopping mall, with many people waving to him.
Tam described Jiang as an "easy-going" leader who had made huge contributions to the nation and the Communist Party and cared about Hong Kong.
Another delegate to the CPPCC, Henry Tang, called Jiang an "outstanding national leader" who led the country on the international political stage.
Tang praised the former president for building a "sturdy foundation" for Hong Kong's "splendid developments" under the One Country, Two Systems principle.
Executive Council Convenor Regina Ip also remembered Jiang for his impact on Hong Kong.
“He wrote the epithet ‘tomorrow will be better for Hong Kong’,” she said.
“I think he was passionate about One Country, Two Systems and fully-committed to Hong Kong's wellbeing, so I learned the news of his passing away with considerable sadness.”