Zhao’s Efforts Against Hard-Liners Told
Chinese legislators said Wednesday that ousted Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang tried to enlist the National People’s Congress in his fight against hard-line leaders who crushed student pro-democracy protests.
Delegates to the Standing Committee of the congress also condemned one of their number for supporting Zhao’s effort.
The legislators’ speeches, made in a closed meeting but carried by the official New China News Agency, gave the first details of Zhao’s failed power struggle against hard-liners led by senior leader Deng Xiaoping. Party officials who ousted Zhao on June 24 said only that he “made the mistake of supporting the turmoil and splitting the party.”
The news agency quoted Song Rufen, a delegate from Sichuan province, as saying that after Premier Li Peng declared martial law on May 20 to try to end the student protests, “people from Zhao’s think tank came out from behind the scenes and advocated ‘opposing martial law’ and ‘down with the puppet government.’
“They also demanded . . . a special session of the National People’s Congress,” Song said. “The very next day, Zhao Ziyang also suggested that an emergency meeting of the (congress’) Standing Committee be held.”
Song and several other delegates accused fellow legislator Hu Jiwei of supporting Zhao. Hu enlisted the help of a research institute run by China’s first private high-technology company, the Stone Corp., in collecting legislators’ signatures on a petition for an emergency congress session.
The congress’ Standing Committee, a smaller body that acts for the nearly 2,000-member congress between its annual sessions, began a special session last week, and it has expressed support for the crackdown on the protests. Like Zhao, many students had hoped the congress would meet before the hard-liners consolidated their position and would challenge martial law.
Call for Political Reforms
Several legislators did call for some of the political reforms demanded by the students, including strengthening of China’s new and incomplete legal system.
Local and provincial governments Wednesday announced efforts to combat official corruption, another demand of the students.
The People’s Daily newspaper said officials had cracked the biggest corruption case in Beijing during 40 years of Communist rule, arresting six people for allegedly defrauding the Chinese Academy of Sciences Microelectronics Center, a government research institute, of $105,000.
Also on Wednesday, hotel officials said the government has ordered major joint-venture hotels in the capital to unhook their satellite dishes, which receive foreign news broadcasts, including Cable News Network. China is engaged in an intensive propaganda campaign to discredit Western news accounts of the crackdown on the seven-week pro-democracy movement.
Chinese newspapers Wednesday accused the United States of leading an international conspiracy against communism and said foreign “reactionary forces” are behind China’s ill-fated democracy movement.
They said China had performed an important service to world communism by its bloody crackdown on dissent, an apparent sign that Beijing is searching for support among East Bloc nations after being condemned by the West.
“Without encouragement and support by international reactionary forces, this counterrevolutionary rebellion could never have reached such a serious scale,” the People’s Daily said.
The Economic Information newspaper called for a “counterattack against the international anti-communist trend,” and likened China’s “victory” over the “counterrevolutionary rebellion” to East Germany’s refusal to tear down the Berlin Wall.
It asserted that the democracy movement was engineered by “certain American forces” whose aim was to replace communism with capitalism.