Several days since he failed to show up at the Communist Party of China's 90th birthday party, the Chinese Internet is increasingly buzzing with rumors that former President Jiang Zemin is dying or dead.

There's been no word on Jiang since his high-profile absence from the CCP's party on July 1 and China's rumor mill seems to be working overtime on speculation, based on what may well be nothing. The rumors underscore the secrecy under which China's top leaders still live.

Jiang ruled the country for a decade following the Tiananmen Square crackdown and ensuing political disaster of 1989. In a frenzy of postings on Chinese websites, gossips are speculating that the former president is hospitalized, ill beyond hope, and possibly already dead. Jiang's health has been the subject of rumors and intrigue before. Previous rumors have held that Jiang suffers from Parkinson's disease, though there's never been official comment on the matter.

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