Preface to “Zhao Ziyang: Captive Conversations” – Open Magazine
Open Magazine in Hong Kong has published the preface, in English and Chinese, of “Zhao Ziyang: Captive Conversations” by Zong Fengming, which chronicles a series of conversations between the two men over ten years while Zhao was under house arrest:
Sharing Zhao’s sympathy for the 1989 student movement and deploring his fate, Zong became a frequent visitor to Zhao in his captivity. On the pretext of providing Zhao with traditional Qigong treatment, Zong paid Zhao more than 100 visits from 1991 to 2004. The two comrades-in-arms, who had witnessed more than 50 years of cruel political infighting, discarded their mental reserve and searched for the truth in Zhao’s home in Beijing ‘s Fuqiang Hutong. Each of the conversations was recorded by Zong.
It is not customary in a closed totalitarian system for well-known politicians to bid farewell to history through personal memoirs. Communist leaders live under so much tension while in power that they become dependant on sleeping pills, and have no time for keeping journals. After they are deposed or retire, they find it difficult to pick up a pen under all sorts of constraints…
Zhao deliberately jotted down some memories during his captivity, and more than one person suggested that he write a memoir. He actually asked the authorities for unclassified files from the period of his service to use as reference materials, but was refused. As a result, Zong’s notes of their conversations become a substitute for Zhao’s memoirs. [Full text]
- Read more about the book here.