Zhao Ziyang: Purged Chinese Communist reformer is buried – BBC News

Zhao Ziyang, seen here talking with students in Beijing in May 1989

The ashes of reformist Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang, purged for opposing using force to suppress student protests in 1989, have been buried in Beijing.

The remains of Mr Zhao, who died in 2005, were interred along with those of his wife in a quiet ceremony.

Mr Zhao, general secretary of the Communist Party, was ousted in 1989 and lived under house arrest until he died.

The crackdown authorised by officials killed hundreds, and has been excised from Chinese history books.

Negotiations about what to do with the ashes of a man the authorities have also tried to write out of history have gone on for years.

Only close family were allowed the attend the burial in Chaoping in Beijing’s northern outskirts.

“Today we are burying our parents with family ceremonies. The small ceremony is held in the atmosphere of family peace,” Mr Zhao’s daughter Wang Yannan told BBC Chinese.

The grave of Mr Zhao, who has been airbrushed from Chinese history

Zhao Ziyang was promoted by China’s former supreme leader, Deng Xiaoping, who was looking for someone to reform the economy and open up the country to the outside world.

His position seemed assured when he was made general secretary of the ruling Communist Party in 1987.

But the protests by students and residents in Beijing – and elsewhere across China – two years later revealed deep divisions within the party leadership.

Hundreds of thousands called for democratic reforms in a peaceful demonstration largely focused on a gathering in Tiananmen Square.

The Communist Party was split over how to respond to the demonstrations

Mr Zhao, who had a more liberal attitude than other leaders, favoured a conciliatory approach towards the protesters.

That view eventually lost to those who wanted to bring in the army, and Mr Deng approved the detention of his former favourite.

Source: Zhao Ziyang: Purged Chinese Communist reformer is buried – BBC News