Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang

Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 1439149399

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Prisoner of the State
is the story of Premier Zhao Ziyang, the man who brought liberal change to China and who was dethroned at the height of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 for trying to stop the massacre. Zhao spent the last years of his life under house arrest. An occasional detail about his life would slip out, but scholars and citizens lamented that Zhao never had his final say.

But Zhao did produce a memoir, secretly recording on audio tapes the real story of what happened during modern China’s most critical moments. He provides intimate details about the Tiananmen crackdown, describes the ploys and double crosses used by China’s leaders, and exhorts China to adopt democracy in order to achieve long-term stability. His riveting, behind-the-scenes recollections form the basis of Prisoner of the State.

The China that Zhao portrays is not some long-lost dynasty. It is today’s China, where its leaders accept economic freedom but resist political change. Zhao might have steered China’s political system toward openness and tolerance had he survived. Although Zhao now speaks from the grave, his voice still has the moral power to make China sit up and listen.

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believed in opening up to democracy and had always supported political reform. He had been opposed to the Anti-­Liberalization Campaign of 1987 and had given speeches specifically about the democratization of decision making. Among senior leaders of the Central Committee, he was the one who most ardently supported reform. Li Peng, Yao Yilin, and Beijing Municipality’s Li Ximing made fierce attempts to block, resist, and delay the carrying out of my proposals. They did not openly express

repeatedly suggested to Zhao that he use his speech to target the political agenda proposed by the architects of the turmoil by adding content unequivocally condemning bourgeois liberalism. These suggestions were, however, rejected by Zhao. 5. On April 23, before visiting North Korea, Zhao called [his aide] Bao Tong for a talk, asking him to keep an eye on the development of the student demonstrations. On April 30, immediately upon ­Zhao’s return to Beijing, Bao Tong met with Zhao to report that

Communist Party decision. The day after the talks, the slogans used in the street protests converged on attacks on Comrade Deng Xiaoping. Slogans such as “Overthrow Deng Xiaoping!” and “Support Zhao Ziyang!” flooded the street protests and Tiananmen Square. 18. On the evening of May 16, the Politburo Standing Committee held an emergency meeting. Comrade Zhao Ziyang suggested telling students that the April 26 editorial was in error. He suggested that it be said that the draft of the editorial had

that could not afford to be ignored. This forced the central government to raise the credit quota. For example, as soon as credit controls were imposed, many local governments complained they lacked funds for the annual grain procurement, though they used the assigned credit elsewhere. The credit limits were tightened only to be relaxed soon thereafter. So in 1985, the growth rate was still exceedingly high, even though macro controls had been implemented in the beginning of the year. The

anti-­liberalization, and most people, including myself, agreed. Yaobang made a concession by accepting the addition. However, when it came up for discussion at the group level at the Sixth Plenum of the 12th Central Committee, Lu Dingyi [a liberal writer in the ­Party’s ranks] and a few others said they did not agree with such content. When the resolution was put up for a vote, Lu Dingyi gave an impromptu speech, in which he said, “The Gang of Four used the term ‘bourgeois liberalization’ during

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