Tiananmen Square crackdown

Li Peng publishes his political memoir – but fails to cover his role in Tiananmen crackdown

Book penned by former premier, who is held responsible by many for crushing the pro-democracy demonstrations, only covers events up to 1983

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 June, 2014, 1:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 June, 2014, 6:40pm

Li Peng, the retired premier who played a key role in the bloody crackdown of Tiananmen Square protest 25 years ago, published his official memoir yesterday.

The autobiography of the 85-year-old, which covers events only up to 1983 and omits the highly-sensitive episodes of his later political career, has 16 chapters, 130 pictures and runs to 490,000 words, Xinhua said.

The state-run news agency praised the book as a “document with great historical value” and written “with sincere emotion”.

The memoir is not yet on sale, a person from the state-owned bookstore which will stock the book told Xinhua.

Li’s book is rare since Communist Party elites traditionally shun the limelight after stepping down.

Li, who was instrumental in the giant Three Gorges Dam, published his official diary of his involvement with the project in 2003, covering his role from 1981, when he was vice minister of power, to June 28, 2003, when the Three Gorges reservoir began to be filled.

In the diary, he said the Three Gorges Dam would always continue to his chief political legacy. His family is regarded as continuing to be influential in the mainland’s electricity sector.

But in recent months, the China Three Gorges Corporation, the operator of the world’s biggest hydropower scheme, has been under investigation for alleged corruption.

Central government removed two senior executives in March. In February the Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog said unidentified officials were guilty of nepotism and questionable property deals and bidding procedures.

Another diary ostensibly written by Li during the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations was leaked onto the internet in 2010. Hong Kong publisher Bao Pu said at the time that he was forced by mainland authorities to halt the publication of the memoir, which he said was penned by Li.