hile Li Peng may have gone down as the “Butcher of Beijing” for many, the former Chinese leader received a praise-filled obituary on Tuesday from China’s official Xinhua news agency, which calls him a “tried and tested loyal Communist warrior” who carried out “decisive measures” to “suppress counter-revolutionary riots.”
Though the former Chinese premier is most known for being the leading hardliner behind the bloody crackdown on student protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989, that period of his life is summarized in only 120 characters in the lengthyXinhua obit:
During the political disturbances of the spring and summer of 1989, Comrade Li Peng took a clear-cut stand together with most comrades on the Politburo and with the firm support of Comrade Deng Xiaoping and the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries, carried out decisive measures to stop the unrest, supress the counter-revolutionary riots, and stabilize the domestic situation. This played an important role in a great struggle concerning the future and fate of the party and nation.
The wording of the obit indicates that China is no closer to reversing its official verdict on the Tiananmen student protests — which is that the use of force was necessary in order to control the “political disturbance” and ensure the stability necessary for economic prosperity.
Meanwhile, the obituary also takes the time to emphasize the need to strongly support China’s top leader, giving frequent examples of Li’s support of former paramount leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao, it concludes with a paragraph that declares:
“We must learn from [Li’s] revolutionary spirit, lofty moral character, and first-rate work, and unite more closely around the Party’s Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core… Comrade Li Peng will never be forgotten!”