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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Zhao Ziyang: the guy behind the guy

Very interesting article from this weekend's Financial Times about Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party official who may have been the impetus for some of the major economic reforms credited to China's Paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.

Excerpt from, "Beijing fails to silence voice from the grave":

"When former Chinese Communist party boss Zhao Ziyang died four years ago, the only news published in China was a two-line statement on Xinhua, the state news agency.

The Beijing authorities were afraid the death of the leader ousted for opposing the violent crushing of demonstrators in 1989 would re-open debate about the Tiananmen killings.

Mr Zhao has not been easy to silence, however. Just weeks before the 20th anniversary of the crackdown, his secret memoirs are about to be published, based on 20 tape recordings that friends and associates managed to smuggle out of the country.

An extremely rare first-hand account of elite Chinese politics, Prisoner of the State argues that the decision to impose martial law in May 1989 was illegal and the violent suppression of the protests was a "tragedy".

It also casts light on Deng Xiaoping, the former paramount leader, suggesting it was Mr Zhao who was the real instigator of many of the country's economic reforms and that Mr Deng was a fervent supporter of one-party dictatorship..."

I was scanning the paper when I saw this article, and ended up reading the full piece. Maybe you will find it to be a worthwhile read as well. Enjoy!