Li Peng memoir: Deng was ready to spill blood

China’s revered reformist leader Deng Xiaoping said the government had to “spill some blood” to quell student-led protests in 1989, according to newly-published memoirs of the watershed events by former Premier Li Peng.

Deng’s commanding role in the armed crackdown that remains taboo in Chinese politics 21 years later is described in new memoirs by Li, the hardline head of China’s government, which faced the student-led movement that erupted across China in 1989.
The standoff culminated in a June 4 sweep against protesters centred on Tiananmen Square, who were galvanised by calls for democracy and a purge of corrupt officials. Troops mobilised under a martial law proclamation killed hundreds of protesters and bystanders, according to witnesses and rights groups.
“The measures for martial law must be steady-handed, and we must minimise harm, but we must prepare to spill some blood,” Deng told officials on May 19, according to the memoirs.
Li’s account, suppressed from publication by current leaders, removes the veil imposed on decisions preceding the crackdown. It will be issued by a Hong Kong publisher. —Reuters

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