In social media posts by Chinese users remembering the late Chinese leader Jiang Zemin while attempting to get past censors, toads, glasses, and the phrase "grandpa" all appear.

Historically, references to him have become widespread in the form of nicknames like "Uncle Toad." These were initially used as a means of ridiculing or criticizing the leader, much as how some people liken President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh, but in recent years, Jiang followers have started to practice "toad worship"

In order to talk about him with nostalgia, users have shared images of amphibious animals.

For years, social media sites have tried to restrict posts about toads and frogs. As a result, there are very few such messages on the platforms today.

Today, though, some people have gotten through censorship by creating croaking sounds and leaving messages regarding the former leader.

"Ribbit. Rest in peace," one user said.

His death comes amid a wave of protests against the authorities' zero COVID policy - an outpouring of rage over repeated lockdowns, with some chanting anti-government chants.

Knowing that any references to Jiang will almost certainly be blocked, some web users have just let images speak for themselves to commemorate his legacy.

Social media users in Yangzhou, Jiang's birthplace, have posted floral tributes laid outside historic buildings. Some have shared a book cover featuring him, titled "The man who changed China."

Images of Jiang's large, distinctive glasses and the words "Stay young, stay simple" could also be seen. Some people have used sunglasses emojis to refer to him.

Many people have posted simple words like "RIP" or "Rest in peace" since posts that use the roman alphabet rather than Chinese characters are less likely to be filtered.

But a common thread in these comments has been people lamenting not only the passing of his life but also the passing of a bygone era.

Jiang passed away on Wednesday in Shanghai shortly after 12:00 local time (04:00 GMT). His passing occurs at a time when China is experiencing some of the most significant rallies since Tiananmen, with many demonstrators opposing COVID restrictions.

According to a Chinese Communist Party announcement, he died from leukemia and multiple organ failure. It went on to say that he was regarded "as an outstanding leader with high prestige" and "a long-tested Communist fighter."

Jiang presided over a period when China opened up on a grand scale and experienced rapid growth. Under his leadership, China built a robust economy, the Communists tightened their grip on power, and China ascended to the top table of world powers.