Can China Embrace its History and Zhao Ziyang’s Memoir?

On East Asia Forum, Richard Rigby of Australian National University, reviews Zhao Ziyang’s memoirs:

The fascination of the book, though, goes much further than Zhao’s account of the June 4 events.

It will be mined in great detail by many for the insights it provides into the evolution of the economic reform program, the twists and turns of internal party struggles, the paramount role of Deng Xiaoping (but even his power was not unlimited), the serious differences within the reform camp over political reform (and in Zhao’s case, the way his thinking on this issue changed, and continued to do following his removal from power), Zhao’s insightful pen-portraits of his erstwhile colleagues, and his frank admissions of various policy mistakes (in particular the mishandling of the price reform of 1988).

Most of all, the book stands out as the sole account of how things worked – and in some, but not all ways, presumably still do – at the very top of the Chinese political system, by one who was there.

May 24, 2009 5:07 PM
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Categories: Human Rights, Politics