On the Washington Post is an amazing amalgamation of audio clips and transcripts of former CCP Premier Zhao Ziyang about the tragedy-that-must-not-be-named. Zhao, who fell out of favor partially because of his comments against Deng Xiaoping, was largely ignored for the last 16 years of his life and almost erased from history. When he died four years ago, the party reacted by forming an “Emergency Response Leadership Small Group” and declaring “a period of extreme sensitivity.
In fact, who knows how little we would know about him if it weren’t for the people who smuggled his secret journals out of China. According to the Washington Post:
In the audio clips, Zhao castigates Deng Xiaoping, the man credited with opening China to the West and launching its economic reforms; Li Peng, the dour premier at the time of the Tiananmen tragedy; Deng Liqun, a the hardline party theoretician; Li Xiannian, a former vice president; and even Hu Yaobang, Zhao’s longtime ally, whose death touched off the student-led protests in 1989.
But Zhao’s memoir also challenges the accepted version of history that Deng, at the center of the economic reforms, turned China into a global economic power. Much of the critical design was actually Zhao’s doing.
Translated from Chinese and edited by Bao Pu, Renee Chiang and Adi Ignatius, Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Zhao Ziyang offers us a look at a voice at the top that dared to dissent. The memoir will be published on May 19th. We’re guessing it’ll be pretty hard to find around here.
You can read a review of the book here