Moderate intellectuals and cadres in the Communist Party have proposed a 'compromise formula' for the question of the reassessment of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
A Beijing source said yesterday that while the leadership of Mr Jiang had ruled out overturning the verdict on the 'counter-revolutionary rebellion' in the near future, the issue still commanded the attention of the party and intelligentsia.
'One proposal being put forward is that while the party made the right decision in principle in beating back the rebellion against its authority, individual leaders might have used exaggerated means to pursue that goal,' the source said.
'In other words, the party was right in theory to thwart the challenge put up by students given to 'bourgeois liberalisation', yet the exact methods used were excessive and could have been due to personal errors.' The source added this 'compromise' enabled the party to avoid having to say it had made a mistake.
The blame would then be pinned on individual leaders who might have made a misjudgment based on exaggerated or falsified information.
Given the worldwide attention that Tiananmen Square had aroused during the Sino-US summit, the issue would stay on Beijing's agenda for a long time.
Western diplomats in Beijing said the 'compromise approach' to solving the Tiananmen Square problem had been circulating in Beijing political circles.
'This is a good way out as leaders known to have made the decision to use force against the students, including Deng Xiaoping, have either passed away or are very old,' a diplomatic source said.
'And a couple of cadres known to have provided erroneous information to Deng, such as the former party chief of Beijing, Chen Xitong, have already fallen into disgrace.' The source said Mr Jiang might be disposed to take a second look at the issue near the end of his term of office, which runs until 2002.
The President might want to tackle the issue because its settlement might work in his favour.
Analysts said Mr Jiang had won points by acting tough in the Chen case and by denying the children of senior cadres quick promotions to the Central Committee. They said even an indirect admission of a party lapse in judgment would be welcomed.