January 17, 2005

Zhao Ziyang - RIP

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader reads that Zhao Ziyang is dead. Aged 85 years. He had lived under house arrest since he was ousted from power after his siding with pro-democracy students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square.

Your Maximum Leader remembers that at the time of the Tiananmen demonstrations, he had hoped that Zhao would leverage his position at Deng's right-hand man to move China towards real political reforms (which would match the economic reforms already underway). But Deng was more reactionary when it came to political reforms, and the People's Liberation Army wasn't interested in political change.

Your Maximum Leader will not engage in a game of "What If?" here. That type of game is an intellectual exercise in self-indulgence anyway. But perhaps when China does move towards real political reform Zhao will be positively remembered... Of course, he might just be another Alexander Kerensky figure. Someone who had a chance to make a change - and blew it.

Carry on.


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