Dissidents, family friends and ragged protesters on Saturday marked four years since the death of Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang, nearly 20 years after the Tiananmen crackdown that brought his downfall.
Zhao was ousted as chief of the ruling Communist Party in 1989, when he split with Party elder Deng Xiaoping’s decision to crush pro-democracy protests sweeping the capital.
Until his death in 2005, Zhao was under secretive house arrest. On anniversaries of that date, his family home in central Beijing becomes a magnet for reformist well-wishers and aggrieved citizens who see him as an enlightened leader.
This Saturday was no different and marked a low-key start to a year of sensitive anniversaries for China.
In the morning, fewer people gathered compared with previous years, and there were no violent clashes with the plainclothes security officers guarding the traditional courtyard home where Zhao’s family waited to receive friends and kin.