Memoir shows an unyielding Deng

The memoir based on the watershed events of 1989, by former Chinese Premier Li Peng, show China’s revered reformist leader Deng Xiaoping and his Communist Party successors were unyielding, saying that quelling the 1989 protests was unavoidable and provided years of stable economic growth.
As China faces strikes and public disquiet over corruption and inequality, the memoirs are a reminder that the party sees threats to its control as a threat to the country’s very future.
“If that political disturbance was not handled decisively and correctly, the stability and prosperity of today would be impossible,” China’s now President Hu Jintao said during a meeting in 2001, according to Mr Li’s memoirs.
Mr Li hoped the book would help China’s leaders stop threats to their rule from reappearing, he wrote in a 2004 afterword.
“If there are any sprouts that may lead to turmoil, we must adopt decisive measures based on the law to crush them in the bud,” he wrote. The memoirs suggest Deng, seen in China and abroad as a pioneer of market reforms, believed bloodshed was unavoidable.
“If imposing martial law is a mistake, I assume primary responsibility,” Deng told senior officials.
The publisher of the memoirs, Bao Pu, in 2009 released memoirs of the 1989 events by Zhao Ziyang, the then Communist Party general secretary, who Premier Li helped push from office for being too soft on the protesters.
China’s State Council information office did not respond to faxed questions about the memoirs’ reliability. The publisher Bao told Reuters that he had no doubt they were authentic.
Some accounts have suggested Deng, old and befuddled, was misled into supporting a hardline against the protesters. But Mr Li’s memoirs belie that view, said Mr Bao.

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