Zhao Ziyang’s Memoirs (Yes, You Read That Right)

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Here’s a link to a fascinating story (and a great scoop) by my former colleague and friend Adi Ignatius (he’s now helming the venerable Harvard Business Review) about the about-to-be-published memoirs of China’s former premier Zhao Ziyang. Zhao was dismissed and confined to house arrest after he refused to agree to Deng Xiaoping’s order for the imposition of martial law prior to the bloody suppression of the Tiananmen protests in 1989. Previously unknown, the memoirs were secretly taped before his death in 2005 and smuggled out of China. There’s a lot of fascinating material in the book but the most important revelation seems to be how much Zhao, and not Deng Xiaoping, was the architect of the economic reforms that have brought China to where it now stands. Of course, these claims are made by Zhao, who isn’t exactly an disinterested party, but it will be a huge contribution to our understanding of the history of the period.