Special site in memory of Zhao Ziyang?

That’s what I’m told. (It’s in Chinese.)

[Via a good article on how Chinese in America are memorializing Zhao.)

The Discussion: 32 Comments

Richard, I believe this is the site mentioned in the NY Times article you linked to…from my limited Chinese, yes, it’s a memorial site, and you can leave comments if you are so inclined…too bad my written Chinese sucks so bad that I can’t read most of what’s posted…

January 23, 2005 @ 1:03 am | Comment

Yes, that’s the site NYT and many bloggers referred to.

BTW, a notable Shanghai-based blogger Issac Mao (Mao Xianghui) has in his site dozens of mourning comments there (last time I found 78). Now it’s all deleted by, well, you know who.

January 23, 2005 @ 2:30 am | Comment

How’s this for irony: As the media still censor the news regarding Zhao’s death, UK foreign minister Jack Straw is in Beijing telling his hosts that in a matter of months, the EU will drop their arms ban. When The US has it right and the EU is motivated more for selfish gain than the moral principles it claims to uphold, I have to admit it. Sounds like European appeasement of Manchuria, Abyssinia and Czechoslovakia all over again….

January 23, 2005 @ 5:08 am | Comment


What is European appeasement of Manchuria? Is that in the movie Manchurian candidate?

January 23, 2005 @ 5:14 am | Comment

Exactly keir. Addendum: The League of Nations appeasement … European version II

January 23, 2005 @ 5:25 am | Comment


You should know the Japanese history better than me, Manchu Guo was never approved by the League of Nations. Wasn’t that the exact reason why Japan left the Leaque of Nations in the 1930S??? Instead of comparing that to China, compare it to the Bush neo cons constant berating of the UN.

January 23, 2005 @ 5:44 am | Comment

It is idiotic that western media gave such high marks to Zhao. Before 89, the most corrupt family in china is Zhao’s family and Deng’s family. That is the major reason why students are angry.

During the first public debate betweeen students and governement, one pointed question is about the corruption of Zhao. Nowadays, Zhao is regarded as savior of corrupt china by western media. It is simply idiotic.

January 23, 2005 @ 1:22 pm | Comment

The fact is, under the terms of the League of Nation’s covenant, at the very least the European powers (UK France and Italy) should have applied sanctions on Japan. they didn’t because, especially after the Crash of 1929, it was every country for itself as it appears to be now. The League could not agree on sanctions or even a ban on weapons sales.
I always in class refer to Japan of all countries being first to break the sanctions imposed on China after the Tiananmen massacre which prevented anything from biting China economically.
The fact that the Beijing regime has seen fit to deny reporting of Zhao’s death to its people shows that it has learnt nothing of its actions 15 years ago and indeed, continues to feel that killing its own people was the right thing to do. Who are we in the West apparently to convince otherwise?

January 24, 2005 @ 12:29 am | Comment

Oh: Thanks for the backup, bellevue.

January 24, 2005 @ 12:30 am | Comment

Anytime keir.

In fact I know very little history about Japan, but that League of Nations appeasement (fair to be called a European one, since US was not involved) was in my curriculum. The delegation visited Manchu and drafted a report offering some lip service, but didn’t help that much. Chiang once had illusion that Japan could be forced to leave Manchu by an embargo, but that didn’t happen. On the other hand, US imposed its own sanction and substantially supported the survival of republican China.

In my view, the failure of solving Manchu crisis was the last nail in League of Nation’s coffin. The kowtowing to Beijing’s murderous regime for business gain by the consensus of Bush administration and Corporate America, along with the proposed lift of EU ban on weapon trade with Beijing, will run the risk of leading to the moral bankruptcy of Western civilization. It’s time to answer the wake up call before it’s too late.

January 24, 2005 @ 2:24 am | Comment


You are certainly entitled to keep your view on the justification of sending troops for a military crackdown on peaceful students in 1989, but it is a bit too far to re-write history by calling Zhao ‘the most corrupted’ family in China.

Everyone lived in 80s China can name Deng Pufang, son of Deng Xiaoping, and his Kanghua congelomeration which enjoyed special tax status (disability) and, special guanxi for the sake of the right last name. No one knew what Zhao’s sons and daughters were doing. In fact, they were relatively well-off by Chinese standard: Zhao’s daughter once worked for Sir Yukang Pao the Hong Kong tycoon for his hotel project in Beijing. And his sons are believed to be doing business in Shenzhen. Was it nepotism or prone to corruption? Absolutely. Did it amount to the worse case of aduse of power in China? Absolutely not.

If Zhao’s family had been really that corrupt, the alleged scandal would have been a convenient target after the downfall of Zhao. The junior Zhaos would have been facing the fate of Chen Xiaotong after the disgrace of Chen Xitong. That never happened.

Making defamatory remarks against Zhao when he can no longer defend himself is politically motivated and immoral.

January 24, 2005 @ 2:49 am | Comment

Zhao’s son Zhao Dao Jun is rumored to be #1, if #2 Guang Dao, along with Deng Pufang. Also, “a little corruption is inevitable during reform” is Zhao’s word.

Before June 4, Zhao’s family is much more corrupt that Li Peng’s family. That is just a fact.

If you watched the first debate between students and government, the most firing power was focused on Zhao’s corruption. A student showed a magazine with Zhao playing golf, and questioned why a government offcicial could afford such a luxury.

Excuse my offense, your last argument to prove Zhao’s family not corrupt is simply lame and childish. The reason that Zhao’son is not prosecuted is not because his son is not corrupt, but because the top level did not want to. Since when have you so mcuh faith in CCP’s judicial system?

January 24, 2005 @ 5:26 am | Comment

Let’s be realistic. For most politicians, the most attractive thing from the west is about life style, not democracy. Those politicians just love the power in their hand. But if they can trade their power for much more money, they are willing to do that.

The biggest beneficiary in Russian reform, also the most corrupt, is those people who are in power and pro-west. The same also true in China: politicians who are corrupt, are much more pro-west politically.

January 24, 2005 @ 5:53 am | Comment

I think I watched the debate (dialogue? Was that the one Wuer Kaixi called Li Peng Li Laoshi?) on TV in 1989. Though I can’t remember the details, it’s absolutely possible that many at that time viewed Zhao’s hobby of golfing as a corrupt trademark rather than a sport. And they probably equated any business with corruption, which was not with no reason. Now looking back, it reminds us how convoluted and ironic the transition of a society could get.

(I think you meant Zhao Dajun and Guan dao.)

I’m not saying that Zhao’s record was perfect – it’s certainly not that. But his reform was intended at the right direction. Furthermore, political reform wasn’t his priority, but when he was pressed by the people, he at least responded with kind words, not bullets. And his candid remarks for more tolerance of corruption reveals his inexperience in polictics, but you can’t deny that he is honest – very rare among his comrades.

No politician is a saint; Zhao certainly is not, even if we loosen the cannon law so that Hu Yaobang could be one. There is no arguement about that. However, in critical moment Zhao chose to go with his conscience instead of the Party’s deadly dogma. It’s political suicidal for him and has cost him the rest of his life. In doing so, Zhao left behind a legacy of hope – a hope of common humanity over cynical violence. Zhao manifested the philosphy of life and being, despite his traggic embracing of a wrong ideology earlier like bulk of his contemporaries. Let’s for one minute forget all our moral relativism, and give him credit he deserves.

January 24, 2005 @ 6:36 am | Comment

“In fact I know very little history about Japan, but that League of Nations appeasement (fair to be called a European one, since US was not involved) was in my curriculum. The delegation visited Manchu and drafted a report offering some lip service”

Appease??? This can’t be further from the truth. They didn’t appease the Japanese imperialist government at all. Can you explain your meaning of appeasement with historical facts, not just generalities? Like the UN, the leaque of Nations may not be very powerful. However, they did the right thing, the Manchu Guo was denounced by the League of nations as illegitimate regime puppeteered by the Japanese fascists. How is that an appeasement??? If you want to blame someone, put the blame where it is due, Blame the Japenese fascist imperialists. Don’t blame the LN or Chiang for Japanese invasion of China.

January 24, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

Point taken, JR. BUT what is your definition of “appease”? Mine is “giving way to a bully”. Do you disagree that the LofN gave way to Japan? That it did anything other than muttered about the covenant being broken? The LofN did nothing. Its members continued to trade with Japan (especially France which increasingly relied on Japanese investment after 1929) despite its near unanimous condemnation and then justified Japanese aggression by claiming it was in their interests as a bulwark against communism. As the Brits said, better Manchuria than Australia. Blame first and foremost goes to Japan. But the LofN was created as an imperialist club protecting the interests of the two main powers, UK and France. Its existence helped such injustices (by supplying petrol, provisions, materiel, etc. to fascist regimes) or simply ignored it. Gave way. Appeasement.
I think most importantly, without Manchuria, it was harder to criticise Italy and Germany. My point was that, then and now, individual countries are bypassing institutions they joined for selfish economic interests. The EU has all but signed a new Hoare-Laval pact and Straw in Beijing practically presented it as a fait accompli.

January 24, 2005 @ 5:59 pm | Comment

Yes, during the 1989 demonstrations (I was in Nanjing at that time), students were critical of Zhao’s corruption. Hu was venerated as the purest of all of the leaders. But bellevue’s clearly got it right. Zhao was not the most corrupt. Indeed, there would have been a very powerful political incentive – the thing that drives the PRC legal system – to expose Zhao’s family corruption, but nothing came of it. He has been vilified by Li Peng and company and, by the moralistic rules of the the CCP game, Zhao must be made out as completely rotten and corrupt. But they could never come up with specific, concrete goods on him. So, whatever level of his corruption, it was hardly remarkable by contemporary PRC standards. And, Steve, do you really want to hold up Li Peng as a picture of virtue. This is from the Economist, Feb. 15, 2002 (link to secondary source at end of quote):

“Late last year, an intriguing article appeared in a leading Chinese financial journal, Securities Weekly, hinting that members of the Li family might be profiting from their powerful connections. The article suggested that Mr Li’s wife, Zhu Lin, and his son, Li Xiaopeng, had control over Huaneng Power International, the country’s largest independent power producer. It called the firm “a typical family enterprise”. The younger Li is indeed in charge of Huaneng. But Zhu Lin’s role is not acknowledged anywhere publicly. In January she took the unusual step of giving an interview to another Chinese magazine to deny any involvement in Huaneng’s business, or anyone else’s. For the wife of a top leader to make a public statement of this kind suggests her husband must have been badly stung. Staff at SecuritiesWeekly are said to have been disciplined for carrying such a barbed article.

“Equally startling are the public demonstrations that have been occasionally allowed on the streets of Beijing by victims of a $60m investment-fund scam allegedly masterminded by Li Peng’s other son, Li Xiaoyong. It is hard to say whether it is the streets of Beijing or the state-run media that are more tightly controlled in China, but it cannot bode well for Mr Li that attacks against him are allowed to see the light of day in both places. Mr Li was already politically embarrassed after one of his deputies, Cheng Kejie, was executed for corruption in 2000, the highest-ranking communist official to suffer such a fate. ”


But, most importantly, Zhao voted against martial law at the moment of truth. He voted against killing Beijingers. Li Peng voted for the killing.

January 24, 2005 @ 6:27 pm | Comment


Your latest post makes more sense than your previous post. United states hold a state funeral for a crook like Nixon and poured praise during his funeral. I did not intend to criticize Zhao too much. Anyway, he is a deceased person.

Regarding your previous post, you started the sentence by accusing me of supporting crackdown. You think, by doing that, you can immediately take moral high ground?

Frankly, you, along with so-called many democracy fighter, have a lot of many bad habits learned from CCP. In my opinion, the reason that so-called democracy movement in US go down to tubes, is that they just behave like CCP. As a matter of fact, most so-called democracy fighters are just CCP opportunists lost in an internal power struggle and then ran to US for help.

Many oversea chinese are well off. Do you actually see oversee chinese donate to those pro-democracy movement, who has to get money from US government and Taiwan by supporting Taiwan independence? Why? Is it because they are brainwashed by CCP in US? It is because oversea chinese do not like those old CCP members.

The blood in Tiananmen is CCP’s sin, but really not the medals for anti-CCP people.

January 24, 2005 @ 6:47 pm | Comment


Please note my post. I said before 1989. If my recollection was correct, there was no rumor about Li Peng family’s corruption at that time. Most anger was focused on Zhao. Li’s family become more corrupt after 1989, and the same time, he steered toward the west.

Jiang jailed Chen Xitong is because Chen is a threat to Jiang’s power. There will be no threat from Zhao after he lost the internal fight. Politically there is no incentive to do that. Furthermore, treating Zhao nicely can help Jiang consolidate his base. The argument that Zhao is not corrupt because he was not prosecuted is not convincing at best.

I have no idea whether Zhao is corrupt. But in early 80s, playing Golf is very expensive. Why in the world Zhao need to have that expensive hobby is beyond me. He is also the only major figure Ok “a little corruption”. Well, he maybe honest. But in my view, that really gives a green light for corruption.

January 24, 2005 @ 7:05 pm | Comment


I categorilly reject your analogy of Zhao vs. Nixon. Zhao will be remembered as a man chose conscience and life. Nixon gets down history as a crook, no matter what they said in his funeral.

It’s true that Beijing’s first golf course sent Zhao free membership as gift. Zhao’s patronage was also performing his state functionality, to show the world that China now had a new leadership with a fresh face. That’s why Zhao didn’t sneak in through back door, but had extensive media coverage. If this is corruption, this would be the most transparent corruption in the world. Remember, transparency is the enemy and cure of corruption.

And I never demanded or suggested a ‘state funeral’ for Zhao. I can’t think of a worse idea. He now belongs to his people he loved, not a corrupt regime.

How much did those well-off Chinese Americans donate to 911 telethon or foundation? How much did they donate for tsunami relief?

Don’t read me wrong: I have no connection with overseas dissidents, nor am I a former CCP member. I wasn’t even a CY. However, I consider myself one of those kids Zhao once wanted to protect from gun fire. You might consider this as Zhao’s greatest sin. I have a different view. Nothing can deprive me of the heartfelt feeling to Zhao.

The crackdown is CCP’s ferocious crime (not a sin as you try to downplayed to) committed to Chinese people. Zhao stood against those professional criminals. If anything, just as Liu Shaoqi said: after all, history is written by people.

January 24, 2005 @ 7:46 pm | Comment


I was very young in 1989 but I believe you are right about zhao as a corrupted figure before 1989. The people were truly surprised about Zhao speaking to the students. Do any other Chinese people in here remember that? They all thought Zhao was another extremist. Remember Li Peng was not known as a reactionary before 6/4.

January 24, 2005 @ 7:55 pm | Comment


There is no need to debate appeasement in relativity. Leaque of Nations was too weak to do anything, the way they denied Manchu Guo was viewed as an act of courage not otherwise. A true example of appeasement would be for Chamberlain to give away the sudeteland to Germany.

January 24, 2005 @ 8:02 pm | Comment

Another example of appeasement would be for US to give away Taiwan to China, if that ever happens.

LN appeasement to Japan is in school textbook in China.

January 24, 2005 @ 8:18 pm | Comment

Taiwan is still part of China how can it be given to China by the US?

January 24, 2005 @ 8:39 pm | Comment


I have no intention to compare Zhao to Nixon. He is probably better than Nixon. I am just saying that, since US can do that to Nixon, I will not be too critical to Zhao.

“Zhao stood against those professional criminals. ”

Your expression is kind of amusing. I have no idea why you sounds so naive. Please remember, they are just politician. Zhao climbed that high not by being nice. To be honest with you, I think some people manipulated student movement. And those people are close to Zhao.

At least, I agree with you on one thing, i.e., history will eventually give Zhao a fair assessment.

By the way, I can not understand why you keep quoting Liu Shaoqi ( this is the third time I find you do that). It is true Liu died in a power struggle with Mao. But that guy really makes me feel sick. He is “THE” key figure to start worshiping Mao and first proposing Maoism in 1940s. From that time on, Mao was elevated to God status and stayed above the whole system. By kissing ass, Liu got promoted quickly.

As you can see, I am much more cynical than you. I do not have much faith in any politician. Politicians will do things, first and foremost, for their best interest. When I compared CCP with those so-called democracy fighters, one is devil I know and the other is the devil I do not know.

January 24, 2005 @ 8:44 pm | Comment

“In fact I know very little history about Japan, but that League of Nations appeasement (fair to be called a European one, since US was not involved) was in my curriculum. The delegation visited Manchu and drafted a report offering some lip service, but didn’t help that much. Chiang once had illusion that Japan could be forced to leave Manchu by an embargo, but that didn’t happen. On the other hand, US imposed its own sanction and substantially supported the survival of republican China.”

Manchu guo was establish in 1931, American government did not sanction Japan until 1938, after the Nanjing Massacre was reported in the New York Times. ( from Horror in the East)

January 24, 2005 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

Taiwan is still part of China

Ok. Next time you want to travel to Taipei, please get in the line in front of Chinese consulate and apply for a visa.

January 24, 2005 @ 11:42 pm | Comment

Yes whether Mr Mainland Chinese like it or not, Taiwan is still part of China.
Why do some Taiwanese want independence? and independence from what?

January 24, 2005 @ 11:59 pm | Comment


Zhao was not promoted to the 3rd or 2nd place by just being nice, but no evidence showed that he behaved badly before Deng hand picked him. Overall performance showed that he had been pragmatic for a long time. You should admit, that being a pragmatic leader in Mao’s time was good enough for people. Zhao won Deng Xiaoping’s patrongage by doing a good job in Sichuan, not cracking down Tibetans like Hu Jintao would do. But even before that, during pre-cultural revolution years in Guangdong, Zhao already showed consistent non-violence inclination by not shooting Chinese defects crossing border to Hong Kong.

And yes, Zhao may not be a true democrat by Western standard. When he pursued a more radical rural reform and Mr Xu Jiatun got in his way in Jiangsu, Zhao managed to remove Xu from his post to another one (maybe better) . This could hardly be described as democratic, policy aside.

However, all these should be examined and evaluated in China’s context. If Zhao behaved like Mikhail Gorbachev, he wouldn’t survive one day. He passed litmus test for a decent politician. Li Peng didn’t, and apparently you didn’t care at all.

I still remember that Li Peng’s first state visit as premier was warmly received by US media. Many years after I found a news story by mainstream media (as English reader) saying all nice things about this former hydrolic-electric engineer being hard-working during his US tour. America gave those leaders an equal chance. It’s Li Peng’s later deeds, not anything else earned him disdain and made him a pariah.

I quoted Liu for a second time, not a third one if my memory still serves me. Your description of Liu’s political career is accurate. He learned his lesson the hard way, and history was his only relief in defeat. I believe in his later years Zhao had more confidence than Liu did. CCP has been a page turned over. Even still in power it has lost its monopoly in intepreting history. History will be much nicer to Zhao than to Liu.

January 25, 2005 @ 12:17 am | Comment

Why do some Taiwanese want independence? and independence from what?

This is a fair question, and I keep asking my Taiwanese friends a similar one: re-unite for what? Huh? You already said that there is only one China? (Most Taiwanese I personally know are KMTs or even NPs)

January 25, 2005 @ 12:24 am | Comment

The arms embargo was brought in due to the crack down on students 15 years ago. Nowadays, if you go ask some students from any university in China about this embargo, I’m sure most of them will tell you it should be lift.

January 26, 2005 @ 5:19 pm | Comment

“Why do some Taiwanese want independence? and independence from what?

This is a fair question, and I keep asking my Taiwanese friends a similar one: re-unite for what? Huh? You already said that there is only one China? (Most Taiwanese I personally know are KMTs or even NPs)

Posted by bellevue at January 25, 2005 12:24 AM”

The status quo right now is one China consented by both China and Taiwan government. To get independent is a break from the consensus of the status quo, to get re-unified is a figure of speech.

January 27, 2005 @ 7:14 am | Comment

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