Qiao Shi, who once led China’s parliament and was the nation’s third-ranked leader, died this morning in Beijing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. He was 91.
Qiao, who was chairman of the National People’s Congress and a Politburo member, died after an unspecified illness, according to the report.
The Shanghai native retired from all his posts in 1997 after former President Jiang Zemin came to power. Qiao was seen as a liberal challenger to Jiang, urging state-run firms to take more risks in reforming themselves and calling for a legal system to protect fair competition and promote market development.
Holding multiple roles throughout his career, Qiao also served as the country’s security chief, after joining the Chinese Communist Party at the age of 15, Xinhua said.
— With assistance by Alexandra Ho