Zhao Ziyang Remembered; Tiananmen General Dies

Zhao Ziyang, former Party general secretary and national premier who opposed the use of force against Tiananmen protesters in 1989, was honored by visitors to his former home in Beijing on Thursday, the 8th anniversary of his death. From the South China Morning Post:

Zhao pressed forward with bold political reforms while in office, but he was never seen in public after May 19, 1989, when he made a tearful appeal in Tiananmen Square for pro-democracy demonstrators to leave. He has since become a symbol of thwarted political reform.
Du Guang , a veteran Central Party School scholar, wept and said Zhao had died while still smeared by false charges and he could never forget him. “Zhao initiated political reform but regrettably everything was terminated after June 4, 1989,” said Du, who helped found a semi-official think tank that analysed reform issues in 1988 but was forced to close after the Tiananmen crackdown.
People who visited Zhao’s home yesterday bowed in the mourning room, where a large picture of a smiling Zhao was surrounded by dozens of flowers, including ones from his former aide Bao Tong , who is under house arrest in Beijing.

Some netizens also commemorated Zhao online, though searches for his name remained blocked on Sina Weibo, and posts which mentioned him directly were reportedly removed. Many, though, had no idea who he was:

Just re-Weibo’d a photo of Zhao Ziyang, 1-17 the anniversary of his death in 2005.Typical of comments was this one: 弱弱的问一下,他是谁?
— David Moser (@david__moser) January 18, 2013

“If I may ask, who is he?”

At The New York Times, meanwhile, Andrew Jacobs reported the death of another “largely forgotten” figure of the era: General Yang Baibing, who led the suppression of the protests in 1989 but was later sidelined for conspiring to

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2 Responses to Zhao Ziyang Remembered; Tiananmen General Dies

  1. Javed Mir says:

    Zhao initiated political reform but regrettably everything was terminated after June 4, 1989,” said Du,

    Human societies get transformation only when people get ready for sacrifices. Chinese society is going through new phases and the ideal way is to struggle through normal and legal means.

  2. Will says:

    When the party-state bans opposition parties and continuously usurps basic human rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion, many activities of the populace that would perfectly legal in a hundred or so normal countries where the ruling party is not above the law are actually branded as illegal in the PRC. In the PRC, the CCP is and has always been above the law ever since achieving a military victory over the GMD party-state in 1949.