January 16, 2005


A Hero died today. Learn a little about him:

Zhao sealed his fate with an act of courage unseen among China's totalitarian leaders before or since—he broke ranks. He alone sacrificed his career, and his freedom, when he sided with the students and tried to prevent the bloodshed that came on June 4, 1989. In the words of leadership at the time, "Comrade Zhao Ziyang committed the serious mistake of supporting the turmoil and splitting the Party." Despite the changes that have swept China in the past 15 years, that remains the official verdict on Zhao. It is also the Party's most vulnerable point. Any reformist contender for power could at any time propose clearing Zhao's name. Doing so would likely divide the CCP between closet reformers who agree with Zhao's ideas and the rest who fear that democracy will mean the Party's collapse. For China's current, conservative leaders, Zhao may be more dangerous in death than he was in life.

His name is Zhao Ziyang. Learn. Then help.

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