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Zhao Ziyang’s Secret Memoirs Released

The release of a top Chinese official’s personal memoirs may shed new light on the political and free-market reforms of the 1980’s in China, as well as the events leading up to the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and subsequent violence on June 4th, 1989.

Zhao Ziyang, the former Chinese Premier from 1980 to 1987 and then Secretary General from 1987 to 1989, was placed on house arrest following the Tiananmen Square incident for his sympathizing with demonstrators; and would remain there until his death in 2005.

During his years in isolation, Zhao managed to relate his personal experiences at the forefront of Chinese politics by recording over cassettes of children’s songs and the Chinese opera.

The tapes were subsequently smuggled out of the country by some of Zhao’s colleagues and are the material for the 306-page book Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang which will be released by Simon & Schuster on May 19th.

No doubt to the consternation of the current Chinese administration, Zhao praises the western system of parliamentary democracy in the last pages of his book as the only way to stamp out corruption and the growing economic inequality among China’s citizens.

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