• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 9:14am

New Li Peng book lacks insights into Tiananmen

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 February, 2007, 12:00am

Former premier and National People's Congress chairman Li Peng has published a fifth diary revealing slices of history from when he was head of the State Council and the congress.

The book, titled Market and Adjustment, covers the 20 years from 1983 but does not contain any revelations on sensitive episodes such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, in which Mr Li is known to have played a pivotal role.

Nevertheless, Mr Li, who stepped down as NPC chief in 2003, does level veiled criticism at former party chief Zhao Ziyang, outlining how Zhao only paid lip-service to trying to tame runaway inflation in 1988.

In describing a meeting with the then general secretary of the Communist Party and other senior officials, Mr Li wrote that Zhao was insincere about tackling the problem.

'From his remarks, [I felt] he hardly made any self-criticism [for failing to deal with the problem] and he did not undertake any analysis of how the market functioned,' Mr Li wrote. 'Since he was insincere about drawing lessons [from the mistakes], it is inevitable that [he would] make mistakes again.'

Zhao, who died in 2005, was not rehabilitated by the Communist Party although he was never officially charged with any crimes in connection with the 1989 political movement.

Soaring prices and official corruption were cited as the main complaints of students who demonstrated in Tiananmen Square, mourning the death of former party chief Hu Yaobang .

In the new book, Mr Li reveals how former leader Deng Xiaoping blamed himself in 1991 for not encouraging Shanghai to develop faster and earlier.

He recalled a visit made in March that year - about nine months before Deng made his famous tour of southern China - when the leader expressed regret that Shanghai had lagged behind.

'Shanghai's development has come at least 10 years late - or at least five years - and I should take responsibility for that,' Mr Li quoted Deng as saying.

'I am very glad now that you guys [party leaders] have agreed to let Shanghai develop faster.'


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