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Zhao Ziyang

Zhao Ziyang (赵紫阳 zhao4 zi3 yang2) (born 1919) is a Chinese Communist politician. He was Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989.

The son of a wealthy Henan province landlord, he joined the Communist Youth League in 1932 and worked underground as a CPC official during the second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1949). He rose to prominence in the party in Guangdong from 1951. By the 1960s he was the Party secretary of Guangdong province.

As a supporter of the reforms of Liu Shaoqi, he was dismissed as Guangdong party leader during the Cultural Revolution, paraded through Guangzhou in a dunce's cap, and in 1971 he was assigned to work in Inner Mongolia.

He was rehabilitated by Zhou Enlai in 1973 and sent to China's largest province, Sichuan, as first party secretary in 1975. Here he introduced radical and successful market-oriented rural reforms, which led to a rapid increase in output. He was a member of the Communist Party Central Committee[?] from 1973. Deng Xiaoping had him inducted into the Politburo as an alternate member in 1977 and as a full member in 1979. He joined the Politburo Standing Committee in 1982.

After six months as Vice-Premier, Zhao was appointed Premier in 1980 and assumed, in addition, the post of CPC General Secretary in January 1987.

Named General Secretary of the party in 1987, he persisted in advocating economic reforms and an open foreign policy. His economic reforms were criticized for causing inflation. Li Peng succeeded Zhao as Premier in 1987.

Opposing a policy of repression, Zhao advocated dialogue with the students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square. Consequently, he was ousted from all posts on June 23, and has been under house arrest ever since.

See also: Politics of China



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