Hong Kong lawmakers, courts and hospital staff observed three minutes of silence in memory of late Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday morning, as Jiang’s memorial service took place in Beijing. The commemoration was also live-streamed at some schools and at 21 community centres across the city.

Mourners gather at Sai Ying Pun Community Centre to remember ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The remembrance began at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the Great Hall of the People in China’s capital city, six days after the former Chinese leader died last Wednesday at the age of 96.

Mourners gather at Sai Ying Pun Community Centre to remember ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

In Hong Kong’s Central Government Offices, the Chief Executive John Lee, top officials and members of the Executive Council stood in silence for three minutes at the same time as those who attended the memorial service in Beijing. Staff of other government departments did the same. All national and regional flags at government buildings were flown at half staff, as they have been since the day after Jiang’s death was announced.

Hong Kong lawmakers observe a moment of silence for the late ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at the legislature. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Legislative Councillors also gathered at the lobby of the legislature to observe the three-minute silence. All wore white masks and dark clothing.

Hong Kong lawmakers observe a moment of silence for the late ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at the legislature. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Livestreams of the memorial service were set up in 21 community centres across all districts in Hong Kong to allow members of the public to watch the ceremony. Some schools hosted assemblies for students and teachers to watch the memorial service and observe the period of silence, according to local media.

Mourners gather at Sai Ying Pun Community Centre to remember ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Three minutes of silence were observed at 10 a.m. at the High Court ahead of the bail application hearing of veteran activist Lee Cheuk-yan, who is facing trial under the national security law.

Mourners gather at Sai Ying Pun Community Centre to remember ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Most Judiciary staff and security guards lowered their heads, while some court goers continued talking among themselves. A Judiciary staff member announced at 10:03 a.m. that the silent mourning had ended and some court attendees laughed.

Mourners gather at Sai Ying Pun Community Centre to remember ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Local media reported that the Hospital Authority also urged its employees to stand in silence to mourn the ex-leader on Tuesday morning, “when it’s plausible and not affecting patient services.”

Hong Kong lawmakers observe a moment of silence for the late ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at the legislature. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Government vessels sounded their horns for three minutes at 10 a.m., too.

Hong Kong lawmakers observe a moment of silence for the late ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at the legislature. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

The government announced that officials would not engage in any public entertainment activities on Tuesday. Meanwhile, all entertainment and celebration activities organised or funded by the government would be either postponed or cancelled.

‘Entrusted during a moment of crisis’

Speaking at Jiang’s memorial service, China’s leader Xi Jinping said his forerunner was “entrusted during a moment of crisis,” when “our country was facing external pressures and internal predicaments.”

Mourners gather at Sai Ying Pun Community Centre to remember ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Xi said during late 1980s and early 1990s, there was “severe political unrest,” both internationally and within China.

Mourners gather at Sai Ying Pun Community Centre to remember ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

“Severe twists had emerged in global socialism, whereby some Western countries were implementing so-called sanctions on China, the building of our nation’s socialism was facing unprecedented difficulties and pressure,” Xi said.

Mourners gather at Sai Ying Pun Community Centre to remember ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Jiang stepped into power in the Chinese Communist Party in late June, 1989, shortly after the Tiananmen crackdown that ended months of student-led demonstrations in China. It is estimated that hundreds, perhaps thousands, died when the People’s Liberation Army cracked down on protesters in Beijing.

Mourners gather at Sai Ying Pun Community Centre to remember ex-Chinese leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Xi said at the historic moment, Jiang had led the country to “unwaveringly” focus on economic construction.

He added Jiang had meanwhile insisted on reform and opening up, reinforced ideological work, commenced anti-corruption efforts, and strengthened the connection between the party and the public, while “actively engaging in diplomatic struggles.”

“After a lot of hard work, the Party and the people successfully stabilised the overall status of reform and development, and planted a solid base for our nation’s development,” Xi added.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.