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BEIJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- For days, people throughout China are in mourning for former leader Jiang Zemin, who died Wednesday in Shanghai at the age of 96.
"It was a few minutes before I realized what had happened. I was very sad." Wang Yuge, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) branch of a working team of Tianjin Port Container Terminal Co., Ltd., said he was deeply grieved at the news of Jiang's death.
Wang recalled that he was only an ordinary truck driver on the dock when Jiang visited the Tianjin Port during an inspection tour. The port has undergone sea changes over the past 30 years, becoming a maritime gateway of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, and maintaining trade with over 500 ports in more than 180 countries and regions.
Yan'an, an old revolutionary base in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, was gripped by great sorrow.
"Comrade Jiang Zemin's visit to Yan'an is still in the minds of the Yan'an people," said Feng Mei, director of a research institute dedicated to promoting the Yan'an Spirit.
Feng recounted that after Jiang formulated the Theory of Three Represents, the whole city implemented and practiced the theory, bringing about notable improvements to the Party's conduct and the relationship between the Party and the masses in the city.
Liu Jiming, an 80-year-old former village Party chief in Datong City in north China's Shanxi Province, said Jiang's inspection tour in Datong following an earthquake in the city in January 1990 was still fresh in his memory.
"He came down to the village, asked about our needs and encouraged us to rebuild our homes," Liu said.
Ma Yonghuan, Party chief of Guangming Village in southwest China's Guizhou Province, recalled the changes Jiang brought to the village.
"There was a time when the village had no access to water and electricity and we had to walk kilometers of mountain roads to collect water. After Comrade Jiang Zemin visited our village, the village became electrified and the roads were paved, and the industry thrived," Ma said. "We wish he could come and see it again."
Li Xi, a former curator of a museum in Lijiang, still remembered Jiang's inspection trip to the Old Town of Lijiang in southwest China's Yunnan Province in 1999.
"Jiang listened to the ancient music of the Naxi people, chatted with merchants and tourists, and sang and danced with people of ethnic minorities. It was a jolly time," Li recalled.
People from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan also joined in mourning Jiang.
Clad in white mourning clothing with chrysanthemums in their hands, Hong Kong residents were queueing outside the office building of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to mourn the death of Jiang.
An 82-year-old resident surnamed Chen was among the mourners, expressing profound grief and being reluctant to leave the site. "I'm grateful to him for letting us be real Chinese people," he said.
People were deeply saddened by the passing of Jiang, who supported and ensured the implementation of "one country, two systems" to guarantee the smooth return of Hong Kong and Macao to the motherland, said Ng Siu Lai, president of the Macao Federation of Neighborhood Associations, adding that Macao compatriots will never forget his contributions.
Jiang was hailed as a statesman and an outstanding leader enjoying high prestige acknowledged by compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, who also promoted exchanges across the Strait and developed cross-Strait relations, said Chi Chia-lin, who heads the reunification alliance party in Taiwan, in a message of condolence.
We are convinced that under the leadership of the CPC, China's complete reunification will surely be achieved, he said.