Philip Bowring: For China’s nervous leaders, a timely reminder

From International Herald Tribune: “The death Monday of the former Communist Party leader seems unlikely to spark an upsurge of reformist sentiment like the one that followed the death of his popular predecessor, Hu Yaobang, in April 1989 – events that led directly to the Tiananmen Square protests and crackdown. Yet with or without the Zhao’s demise to remind them of the impermanence of political power, the leadership in recent months has been displaying some distinct signs of nervousness.

What may worry President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is not an upsurge in demands to revisit the verdict on Tiananmen, or for a rehabilitation of Zhao Ziyang’s role in 1989, but that some of the conditions that led to the Tiananmen upheaval are again very much in evidence.”

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