The Secret Memoir of a Fallen Chinese Leader

Twenty years after China's tragedy, a secret journal reveals new details of the power struggle that led to the massacre

Chip Hires / Gamma / Eyedea

Knowing efforts will probably prove futile, Zhao pleads with students to "treasure their lives" and end their hunger strike.

When the tanks and troops blasted their way into Beijing's Tiananmen Square 20 years ago, crushing the student-led protest movement that had captivated the world, the biggest political casualty was Chinese Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang, the man who had tried hardest to avoid the bloodshed.

Outmaneuvered by his hard-line rivals, Zhao was stripped of power and placed under house arrest. The daring innovator who had introduced capitalist policies to post–Mao Zedong China spent his last 16 years virtually imprisoned, rarely allowed to venture away from his home on a quiet alley in Beijing. As his hair turned...

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