The Chinese seem to like establishing committees whenever a momentous occasion presents itself; following the tradition, a number of Hong Kong netizens have set up a “Preparatory Committee to Celebrate the Death of Jiang Zemin” Facebook page.
And photographs feature a group of the participants celebrating Jiang’s apparent imminent demise with champagne at the mainland border.
The Jiang death news was first reported by Hong Kong’s ATV, a major broadcaster, but was retracted later the same evening. Another station in Shandong, China, had done the same: reported Jiang’s death then removed reports. Smelling death in the air, however, netizens set up the page and it had attracted over 2,700 “Likes” by the afternoon of July 7, Eastern Time.
“Today is a national celebration day,” one of the posts said, placed late at night in Hong Kong.
Two of the initial postings called for celebration: “I recommend that fireworks be set off in front of the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong,” and, “Let’s pop the champagne to celebrate this good news.”
Another post said, “Before I went out to set off firecrackers, about 500 people had signed up, but after I got back I saw the number had swelled to over 1,800!”
Reflecting some of the sentiments Chinese feel toward the former Party boss, further comments had titles like: “Rehabilitate June 4!” “Don’t think death ends all your troubles. History will pronounce sentence on the crimes you committed!” “This is the biggest good news today!”
Rumors have been swirling about Jiang’s death all week. Users of China’s Internet, which is subject to political censorship, have been unable to conduct searches for the news. Searches for words associated with Jiang’s name, like “river” (which uses the same character) are blocked on major social media platforms, and so are searches for the numerals “301,” which is the military hospital at which most CCP leaders are treated.