Tiananmen Sympathizer Restricted to Home
AP from Newsday EFL
China’s former top communist, purged for his sympathies toward Tiananmen Square democracy protesters in 1989, marked his 84th birthday Friday still restricted to his Beijing home and still regarded as a party pariah. Zhao Ziyang had lunch with his daughter and one of his daughters-in-law in his well-guarded, barbed wire-ringed home in Beijing, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported. Zhao is believed to be held largely incommunicado, although the level of restrictions is unclear. He has never publicly been charged with any crime. "He is still under house arrest and still lacks the rights of a Chinese citizen," the center said.
Such as they are...
In 1989, Zhao, a moderate in the leadership, had risen to Communist Party general secretary — a job held today by President Hu Jintao. When student protests began in Tiananmen Square in April 1989, Zhao expressed public support for them for several weeks. But as more hardline leaders such as then-Premier Li Peng took control of the situation, Zhao lost the confidence of supreme leader Deng Xiaoping, who decided he had to go.
"Zhao, old buddy, I hate to tell you this, but it's time for you to go. Wang, shoot him."
"Don't kill me!"
"Okay. We been buddies for a long time. Wang, lock him up until he dies."
On May 19, 1989, Zhao tearfully told democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square he could do no more to help them. It was the last time he was seen in public, and the military crackdown on the demonstrators on June 3-4 of that year left hundreds, perhaps thousands dead.
This is what the moderates in Tehran have to look forward to — if they survive.
Posted by: Super Hose 2003-10-17