Speed Read: Hu Yaobang

China's leaders finally honored Hu Yaobang, a former Communist Party General Secretary who fell from grace in 1987, by commemorating the 90th anniversary of his birth on Friday. The small seminar at Beijing's Great Hall of the People was observed with intense interest by China watchers from around the world. Here's why:

Who was Hu Yaobang?
Raised by peasant parents, Hu fought alongside Mao Zedong in the Chinese revolution, then rose to the country's No. 2 job as head of the Communist Party under Deng Xiaoping. More than any Chinese leader of his generation, he promoted political...