As part of SCMP’s commitment to providing comprehensive coverage of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin’s death and legacy, this story has been made freely available as a public service to our readers. Please consider supporting SCMP’s journalism by subscribing . Tributes poured in from across society in Hong Kong and Macau on Thursday as Beijing’s liaison offices in both cities opened their doors for the public to mourn the death of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. Among the highest-ranking officials to pay their respects in both cities were former and sitting chief executives, all bowing three times at Jiang’s official portrait in venues lined with floral tributes. Lawmakers and business leaders were also among those wanting to honour Jiang, along with thousands of Hong Kong residents who queued to mourn the late leader after his death on Wednesday, aged 96. “Commemorating comrade Jiang Zemin with deep grief,” said a banner above his portrait, as authorities in both cities flew flags at half-mast. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu was the first to pay homage at the liaison office complex in Sai Wan, followed by former leader Leung Chun-ying, Beijing’s top representative in the city Luo Huining, and Lee’s direct predecessor, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. They were all dressed in black. ‘A shining pearl’: how Jiang Zemin’s warmth towards Hong Kong shone through Lee later wrote on his Facebook page: “On behalf of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, I would like to express my unmeasurable respect and deep condolences to President Jiang Zemin.” Among the 300 who took part were key local officials, along with representatives from the judiciary and Beijing’s offices in Hong Kong, as well as from some of the largest Chinese conglomerates in the city. In Macau, Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng and his predecessors Fernando Chui Sai-on and Edmund Ho Hau-wah led the mourning, alongside liaison office chief Zheng Xincong. Thousands of Hong Kong residents visited the liaison office in the afternoon after it announced that it would open for the public. People were led in groups of about 10 to lay flowers and sign their names in a condolence book. Some stopped to bow, while others shed tears. Shanghai-born Tong Fat-cheung, 78, who came to Hong Kong in 1962, thanked Jiang for his contribution to the country. “I came to commemorate our great leader who led China back onto the right course and vigorously developed the economy during the reform and opening up,” he said. “It was his leadership that led to our good life today.” Tong said he most admired the leader’s vivid personality and talents. He recalled seeing Jiang from afar in Hung Hom during one of his visits to the city decades ago. “I was emotional [over his death], and cried as I recalled his achievements,” he said. Restaurant owner Amy Yin, 46, took time off work to commemorate Jiang, bringing floral tributes on behalf of her friends who could not make it. “I was born in mainland China. President Jiang made great contributions to China’s changes, and led Chinese people to become rich and strong,” an emotional Yin, originally from Dalian city, said. Local wet market worker Wong Wai-chuen, 66, said he regarded Jiang as his “grandpa”, while clerk Eric Cheng, in his 30s, took his seven-year-old son along. US, Britain and India remain silent about death of Jiang Zemin Cheng said the leader contributed to the country’s reform and opening up, and its joining of the World Trade Organization, while leading a smooth transition of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland in 1997. “President Jiang made great contributions to the country’s development,” Cheng’s son said. “I felt sad when I heard he passed away.” Those who had come into closer contact with Jiang shared their memories. Chan Wing-kee, a former Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature, remembered the former president as “upbeat and talkative”. Jiang was best remembered by residents for his unexpected outburst at Hong Kong reporters in 2000, when he lashed out at them in Beijing for being “too simple, sometimes naive”. But what people did not know, Chan said, was that after the exchange, Jiang went on to discuss his penchant for Hollywood blockbuster Titanic with Hong Kong delegates he was meeting at the time. Jiang was the first Chinese head of state to set foot in Hong Kong, visiting the city in 1997 to witness its return to China, marking the end of 156 years of British colonial rule. Years later, Jiang counted the return as among his proudest achievements. Government premises in Hong Kong joined those in mainland China in flying national flags at half-mast on Thursday, as did the Legislative Council and court buildings.