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NYT: Excerpts From Zhao Ziyang’s ‘Prisoner of the State’

May 15, 2009

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A translation of excerpted audio recordings made by Zhao Ziyang, the purged Communist Party chief and former prime minister of China, who was removed from power in 1989 after he opposed the use of force against democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.

Excerpt: Part 1, Chapter 4: 'The Crackdown' (Pp. 33-34)

On the night of June 3rd, while sitting in the courtyard with my family, I heard intense gunfire. A tragedy to shock the world had not been averted, and was happening after all.

I prepared the above written material three years after the June Fourth tragedy. Many years have now passed since this tragedy. Of the activists involved in this incident, except for the few who escaped abroad, most were arrested, sentenced, and repeatedly interrogated. The truth must have been determined by now. Certainly the following three questions should have been answered by now.

First, it was determined then that the student movement was "a planned conspiracy" of anti-Party, anti-socialist elements with leadership. So now we must ask, who were these leaders? What was the plan? What was the conspiracy? What evidence exists to support this? It was also said that there were "black hands" within the Party. Then who were they?

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