Zhao Ziyang

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Zhao Ziyang

Zhao Ziyang or Chao Tzu-yang (both: zhou zēyäng), 1919–2005, Chinese Communist leader. He joined the party in 1938, was active as a local party leader during World War II, and by the 1960s was party secretary of Guangdong prov. Persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, he held a variety of party posts after 1971, and was known for reviving agricultural and industrial production in Sichuan prov. A member of the Communist party Central Committee from 1973, he became premier in 1980 and joined the Standing Committee of the Politburo in 1982. Named general secretary of the party in 1987, he persisted in advocating economic reforms and an open foreign policy. Li Peng succeeded Zhao as premier in 1987. Opposing a policy of repression, Zhao called for dialogue with the students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square. Consequently, he was ousted from all posts on June 23, was placed under house arrest until Oct., 1989, and subsequently had his movements and visitors severely restricted until his death. Nonetheless, the economic reforms he promoted were ultimately adopted and led to sustained growth and development in China.

See his memoir, Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang (2009, tr. and ed. by B. Pu et al.).

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