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Are Zhao's Memoirs Real? Seems So.

Here's what we know about the authenticity of Zhao Ziyang's memoirs,which will be published in English on May 19 (20 years to the day when he was removed from his post as general secretary of the Communist Party). Zhao's editors say the following:

1) They liaised with people whom they knew to be close to Zhao. (Bao Pu was one of the editors and his father, Bao Tong, was Zhao's political aide. If Bao Pu didn't know the people personally, his father did.)

2) The memoirs were dictated by Zhao into tapes. Zhao numbered them in his own hand. His voice on the tapes sounds exactly like his voice on other tapes of him speaking, although you do have to take age into account.

3) Other sources close to Zhao knew of the tapes.

4) A transcript of one of the tapes has already been cited in an appendix to a book in Chinese by the author Yang Jisheng. (The tapes, however, apparently have no relation to "Zhao Ziyang: Captive Conversations," a book by Zhao's longtime friend Zong Fengming.)

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Comments (6)

piggie929 Author Profile Page:

He is NOT a loser. He is a HERO!

DavidZhuang Author Profile Page:

There is NOTHING NEW fundamentally in this newly published Zhao Ziyang’s memoir, except a few nuances for historians and writers.

On the contrary, this book will reshape legacy of Zhao Ziyang. He did some good work for farmers earlier at country side, I don’t think he can claim to be the real “architect” behind China’s reform and open-up movement. It’s common for a loser to try to take much credit on good things and blame bad things onto others.

Zhao Ziyang was unsatisfied and openly critical of Deng’s supreme leadership position when he was talking to students at Tiananman Square.

His former aid, Bao Tong and his son, were behind this publishing work, and the later set up a publishing company in HK and wanted to make some profit out of this old history.

Zhao Ziyang now blew his chance of gaining better recognition. At the end of his memoir, he sounded exactly like Soviet’s Gorbachev. Should he succeeded, China today would be divided like former Soviet, or in war situation like Balkan region. Not many people would believe him in China.

Donald2 Author Profile Page:

Some questions need to be answered first:

If Tien-An-Men-Square was resolved in a peaceful way and caused some political reform, would China follow the foot steps of Soviet Union and fall? Or, will China become a democracy and enjoy some freedom like, say, Pakistan?


If China falled like USSR, I am sure Westerners will celebrate it like they celebrated the fall of Soviet Union, but how would Chinese think? Comparing the tragedy of 6-4 vs the collapse of China, which one is more tragic?


Now on the Power struggle.

Apparently, the tapes reveals a few points on the power struggle in the Chinese leadership circle. A few points:

- The battle between liberals and conservatives were real, although some westerners don't believe that and still think Chinese politics are easily dominated by one person.

- Zhao stressed the importance in the voting among leaders indicating the works of Chinese political system.

longren Author Profile Page:

I have listened to the voice in Chinese with a Henan accent on this Web site. I have some memory for his voice because his speeches were often aired in China before his ouster. The voice is his. He is a great leader and remembered forever.

Aprogressiveindependent Author Profile Page:

An article on the BBC website seems to have a slightly different report. Zhao's aide, Bao Tong, openly acknowledges he is behind the Chinese and English versions of the book. Zhao's daughter told the BBC she knew nothing about the tapes.

Chinese authorities may take a cue from the Obama administration and the consensus of Republicans about the unwillingness to investigate, prosecute possible illegal actions, including war crimes, during the Bush-Cheney administration. Unfortunately the Obama administration, as the Bush administration, has no credibility in criticizing human rights abuses in other countries.

The tendency in most countries, whether China or this country, seem to be to want to cover up and forget past injustices. When news came out about the My Lai massacre, many people in this country refused to believe the event had happened and blamed the media for reporting the incident.

Observer88 Author Profile Page:

Amazing story! Such courage, to take a stand for something that you know will hurt your career, your position, your life and family, and yet to take a stand anyway, simply because you believe in it.

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