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(Source: AFP)

Bao Tong: Champion Chinese Reformer Dies

Bao Tong, a key aide of premier Zhao Ziyang and the most senior Communist Party official imprisoned over the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre in 1989 died at 90 in Beijing.

“Obituary notice for my late father Bao Tong, who passed away peacefully at 7.08 a.m. on Nov. 9, 2022, at 90 years of age,” Bao’s son Bao Pu said via his Twitter account.

Here is an excerpt from Fan Wang of BBC News: 

“Born in 1932 in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province, Bao joined the Communist Party in 1949, the same year it took control of mainland China.

In the 1980s, he rose to become political secretary to Zhao when he was the premier and subsequently general secretary. He served as a member of the party’s central committee and director of its political reform office.

Bao helped draft political and economic reforms to overhaul the structures of power that had been largely left unchanged since Mao Zedong’s death in 1976.

He was one of the architects of the model of collective leadership that the party later ushered in to prevent power from being centralised in the hands of a single leader.

But in 1989 as the pro-democracy protests grew and engulfed more of China, the hardliners in the party became more anxious about their future. Eventually the reformists lost and the protests were brought to a brutal end.

The careers of both Zhao and Bao, who had openly sympathised with the protesters, ended abruptly days before the massacre on 4 June.”

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