Join our Mailing List

"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

FACTBOX: China's leaders in 1989

May 15, 2009

May 14, 2009

BEIJING - China's 1989 pro-democracy movement
split the Communist Party leadership and
triggered a power struggle that ended in a bloody
crackdown on student protesters in the pre-dawn hours of June 4, 1989.

Following are profiles of key leaders at the time:

* DENG XIAOPING, then the power behind the throne
in China, sent in tanks and troops to crush the
student-led demonstrations for democracy centered
on Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 3-4 that
year. He died on February 19, 1997, aged 92,
after reviving the economy with a dramatic tour of the south in 1992.

* ZHAO ZIYANG was toppled as China's Communist
Party chief and accused of splitting the Party
for challenging Deng's decision to crush the
protests. Zhao refused to repent and spent more
than 15 years under house arrest until his death
in Beijing on January 17, 2005.

* JIANG ZEMIN rose from Communist Party boss of
Shanghai, where he quelled parallel protests
without bloodshed, to oust Zhao as national Party
chief in 1989. Zhao's political ghost haunted
Jiang, who refused to end Zhao's house arrest.
Jiang held on to power for 13 years before retiring as Party chief in 2002.

* LI PENG is known as the "Butcher of Beijing"
for declaring martial law on national television
days before the bloody crackdown. Li, then the
premier, was reviled by many and the butt of
jokes but he was a political survivor and went on
to become parliament chief. Writing in
retirement, Li sought to wash his hands and clear his name.

* BAO TONG, Zhao's top aide, was ousted from the
Party's elite Central Committee and was the most
senior official jailed for sympathizing with
student protesters. He lives under tight,
round-the-clock police surveillance and remains a
thorn in the government's side as an outspoken
critic of the country's human rights record and
the slow pace of political reform.

* CHEN XITONG, Beijing mayor, supported the
crackdown and emerged as Jiang's main rival. Chen
was ousted in an anti-corruption campaign in 1995
and sentenced to 16 years in jail. He has
reportedly been released on medical parole.

* HU JINTAO, now China's top leader, was Party
secretary in Tibet in 1989. He declared martial
law in Lhasa in March 1989, following clashes
between Tibetan protesters and police. Hu was
selected by Deng in 1992 as heir apparent to Jiang.

* WEN JIABAO, then director of the General Office
under the Communist Party's Central Committee,
accompanied Zhao to Tiananmen Square, where Zhao
made an emotional appeal to protesting students
to leave. While Zhao was ousted days later, Wen
not only survived, but went on to become premier in 2003.

(Compiled by Benjamin Kang Lim and Lucy Hornby;
Editing by Nick Macfie and Dean Yates)
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank