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Untold story behind Tiananmen Square massacre of Jun 3-4, 1989 revealed

May 17, 2009

Tibetan Review
May 16, 2009

One of the biggest untold stories behind the
bloody repression on Jun 3-4, 1989 of the
Tiananmen Square democracy and anti-corruption
protest has finally been told, with the
publication on May 14 of former party secretary
Zhao Ziyang's memoirs. Mr Zhao, who favoured
talking with the protesters to avoid a bloodshed,
was sacked after the incident and put under house
arrest until his death in 2005.

The English version of the book, Prisoner of the
State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang,
was already on sale in Hong Kong while the
Chinese version was to hit the market on May 29,
reported BBC News Online May 14. The book is
based on about 30 hours of secret tapes recorded
in secrecy around the year 2000 when Zhao was
under house arrest and then smuggled out.

Those who have seen the book said Mr Zhao
denounced the killing of protesters as a
"tragedy", the report said. Zhao was particularly
saddened by the repression in view of the fact,
as stated in the book, that the students only
wanted the party to correct its mistakes – not
overthrow it altogether. But the priority of the
party's leaders ultimately wasn't to suppress a
rebellion but to settle a power struggle between
conservative and liberal factions.

In a rare historical instance of a split at the
party's highest levels, Zhao wouldn't sign on: "I
refused to become the General Secretary who
mobilized the military to crack down on
students," reported the TIME magazine online May 14.

BBC said the tape recording was so secret that
even Zhao’s daughter Wang Yannan apparently knew nothing about the book.

Zhao, who wanted China to embark on far-reaching
political reforms, is reported to praise
Western-style democracy in the book. "If we don't
move toward this goal, it will be impossible to
resolve the abnormal conditions in China's market
economy," he is reported to have written.

The book shows Deng Xiaoping as a conflicted
figure who urges Zhao to push hard for economic
change but demands a crackdown on anything that
seems to challenge the party's authority. It also
shows Zhao as the main architect of the economic
reform in China, with Deng only giving strong support for it.

Mr Zhao's former secretary, Bao Tong has said he
was behind the scheme to publish his former
boss's memoirs. He had spent seven years in
prison because of his involvement in the
Tiananmen movement and still remains under house
arrest in Beijing. "I planned both the Chinese
and English versions of the book," the BBC quoted him as saying.

The book has been published just ahead of the
20th anniversary of one of modern world history
most bloody crackdown on an entirely peaceful
protest with only very modest demands.
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