Zhao Ziyang

Chinese politician (1919–2005) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Zhao Ziyang (Chinese: 赵紫阳; pronounced [ʈʂâʊ tsɹ̩̀.jǎŋ], 17 October 1919 – 17 January 2005) was a Chinese politician. He was the third premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, vice chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 1981 to 1982, and CCP general secretary from 1987 to 1989. He was in charge of the political reforms in China from 1986, but lost power in connection with the reformative neoauthoritarianism current and his support of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Quick facts: Zhao Ziyang, General Secretary of the Chinese...
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao in 1985
General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party
In office
15 January 1987[a]  24 June 1989
Preceded byHu Yaobang
Succeeded byJiang Zemin
3rd Premier of the People's Republic of China
In office
10 September 1980  24 November 1987
PresidentLi Xiannian (since 1983)
Vice Premier
LeaderDeng Xiaoping
Preceded byHua Guofeng
Succeeded byLi Peng
Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
In office
8 March 1978  17 June 1983
ChairmanDeng Xiaoping
Secretary GeneralLiu Lantao
Vice Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party
In office
29 June 1981  12 September 1982
Serving with
ChairmanHu Yaobang
First Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission
In office
1 November 1987  23 June 1989
Serving with Yang Shangkun
ChairmanDeng Xiaoping
Secretary-GeneralYang Shangkun
Personal details
Zhao Xiuye

(1919-10-17)17 October 1919
Hua County, Henan, Republic of China
Died17 January 2005(2005-01-17) (aged 85)
Beijing, People's Republic of China
Resting placeChangping District, Beijing
Political partyCommunist Party of China (from 1938)
(m. 1944)
Central institution membership

Other offices held
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Zhao Xiuye
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
a. ^ Acting: 15 January – 1 November 1987

Zhao joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in February 1938. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, he served as the chief officer of CCP Hua County Committee, Director of the Organization Department of the CCP Yubei prefecture Party Committee, Secretary of the CCP Hebei-Shandong-Henan Border Region Prefecture Party Committee and Political Commissar of the 4th Military Division of the Hebei-Shandong-Henan Military Region. During the Chinese Civil War of 1945–1949, Zhao served as the Deputy Political Commissar of Tongbai Military Region, Secretary of the CCP Nanyang Prefecture Party Committee and Political Commissar of Nanyang Military Division.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Zhao became Deputy Secretary of the South China Branch of the CCP Central Committee. He also served as Secretary of the Secretariat of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the CCP, Second Secretary and First Secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the CCP. He was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution and spent time in political exile. After being rehabilitated, Zhao then was appointed Secretary of the CCP Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Committee, First Secretary of the CCP Guangdong Provincial Committee, First Secretary of the CCP Sichuan Provincial Committee and First Political Commissar of the Chengdu Military Region, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference of the People's Republic of China.[1]

As a senior government official, Zhao was critical of Maoist policies and instrumental in implementing free-market reforms, first in Sichuan and subsequently nationwide. He emerged on the national scene due to support from Deng Xiaoping after the Cultural Revolution. An advocate of the privatization of state-owned enterprises, the separation of the party and the state, and general market economy reforms, he sought measures to streamline China's bureaucracy and fight corruption and issues that challenged the party's legitimacy in the 1980s. Many of these views were shared by the then General Secretary Hu Yaobang.[2]

His economic reform policies and sympathies with student demonstrators during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 placed him at odds with some members of the party leadership, including Central Advisory Commission Chairman Chen Yun, CPPCC Chairman Li Xiannian, and Premier Li Peng. Zhao also began to lose favor with Deng Xiaoping, who was the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. In the aftermath of the events, Zhao was purged politically and effectively placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. After his house arrest, he became much more radical in his political beliefs, supporting China's full transition to liberal democracy. He died from a stroke in Beijing in January 2005. Because of his political fall from grace, he was not given the funeral rites generally accorded to senior Chinese officials. His secret memoirs were smuggled out and published in English and in Chinese in 2009, but the details of his life remain censored in China.