BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s 1989 pro-democracy movement split the Communist Party leadership and triggered a power struggle that ended in a bloody crackdown on student protesters in the pre-dawn hours of June 4, 1989.
Following are profiles of key leaders at the time:
* DENG XIAOPING, then the power behind the throne in China, sent in tanks and troops to crush the student-led demonstrations for democracy centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 3-4 that year. He died on February 19, 1997, aged 92, after reviving the economy with a dramatic tour of the south in 1992.
* ZHAO ZIYANG was toppled as China’s Communist Party chief and accused of splitting the Party for challenging Deng’s decision to crush the protests. Zhao refused to repent and spent more than 15 years under house arrest until his death in Beijing on January 17, 2005.
* JIANG ZEMIN rose from Communist Party boss of Shanghai, where he quelled parallel protests without bloodshed, to oust Zhao as national Party chief in 1989. Zhao’s political ghost haunted Jiang, who refused to end Zhao’s house arrest. Jiang held on to power for 13 years before retiring as Party chief in 2002.
* LI PENG is known as the “Butcher of Beijing” for declaring martial law on national television days before the bloody crackdown. Li, then the premier, was reviled by many and the butt of jokes but he was a political survivor and went on to become parliament chief. Writing in retirement, Li sought to wash his hands and clear his name.
* BAO TONG, Zhao’s top aide, was ousted from the Party’s elite Central Committee and was the most senior official jailed for sympathizing with student protesters. He lives under tight, round-the-clock police surveillance and remains a thorn in the government’s side as an outspoken critic of the country’s human rights record and the slow pace of political reform.
* CHEN XITONG, Beijing mayor, supported the crackdown and emerged as Jiang’s main rival. Chen was ousted in an anti-corruption campaign in 1995 and sentenced to 16 years in jail. He has reportedly been released on medical parole.
* HU JINTAO, now China’s top leader, was Party secretary in Tibet in 1989. He declared martial law in Lhasa in March 1989, following clashes between Tibetan protesters and police. Hu was selected by Deng in 1992 as heir apparent to Jiang.
* WEN JIABAO, then director of the General Office under the Communist Party’s Central Committee, accompanied Zhao to Tiananmen Square, where Zhao made an emotional appeal to protesting students to leave. While Zhao was ousted days later, Wen not only survived, but went on to become premier in 2003.
Compiled by Benjamin Kang Lim and Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie and Dean Yates
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