THE Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has fired several bourgeois-liberal intellectuals in a purge that is believed to be connected to the unstable political situation in Beijing. Sources in the academy said yesterday that at least four liberal researchers in the Research Institute of Political Science had been laid off. They were Chen Xiaoya, Yang Baikui, Zhou Yishan and Chen Zhaogang. All four were involved in the pro-democracy movement in 1989. Mr Yang and Mr Chen Zhaogang were briefly imprisoned after the Tiananmen Square crackdown for their alleged role in organising dissident activities. Mr Zhou is believed to be close to the former head of the institute, Yan Jiaqi, who went into exile in the West after the massacre. Ms Chen Xiaoya, 40, is the author of the recently published History of the 1989 Democracy Movement. It is believed that politically motivated lay-offs have also taken place in other research institutes in the renowned academy. 'No reason was given for the dismissals,' said a member of the political science institute. 'When pressed, a couple of academy leaders said privately it might have been a result of administrative streamlining.' He added that while two accountants in the institute had also been laid off, it was 'too much of an accident' that all four dismissed researchers had connections with the June 4 event. Regulations issued earlier this year had stated that lay-offs in Beijing's colleges would mainly be targeted at non-academic staff. The four would only be given a severance package equal to six months' salary. Mr Yang and Ms Chen, who had worked for institutes of higher learning for around 20 years, would also lose the opportunity of getting official housing. In a written statement, Ms Chen, 40, claimed that she had been a victim of the growing leftism, or remnant Maoism, in the academy. She quoted the Communist Party secretary of the academy, Wang Renzhi, as saying that 'scholars who do not engage in work in Marxism should not be allowed to stay'. Ms Chen said she would sue the academy for proper economic compensation. Other sources in the academy said that the resurgence of leftism had been masterminded by a former member of the party Central Committee Secretariat, Deng Liqun. Mr Deng caused a stir in the autumn when he sent a 10,000-character petition to President Jiang Zemin decrying the dangers of the rise of capitalism.