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Jiang Zemin

Born in 1926 in Yangzhou, Jiangsu, Jiang Zemin graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University with a degree in electronic engineering, and rose up in state-owned factories and government agencies overseeing industries. He was promoted to China's top power bench soon after the bloody crackdown on student movement in Beijing in 1989, becoming general secretary of the Party and chairman of its Central Military Commission. He became president in 1993. He held on to the military chief job for two more years even after handing Party leadership and presidency to successor Hu Jintao in 2002-2003. He is believed to still wield massive influence on Chinese politics a decade after his retirement. 

Politburo members Hu Chunhua (left) Meng Jianzhu confer during the Communist Party’s national congress last month. Grey hair is making a comeback among some of the senior ranks of power Photo: AFP

Is grey the new black? Five Politburo members snub a dyeing tradition

For years the challenges of high office have turned the locks of Western politicians grey. Now, after a decade-long bias against publicly sporting salt-and-pepper hairstyles, China’s political leaders are discovering the value of keeping a little silver on top.

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