China: China, Internet buzz over Li Peng diaries

world | Jun 07, 2010 | By Asia News

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The still unpublished diaries attributed to former Prime Minister Li Peng - also known as the "butcher of Tiananmen" for ordering the 1989 massacre - appeared over the weekend on the Internet, immediately becoming the main topic of discussion among users. The photocopied version of the memoirs, entitled "The critical moment" and subtitled "The diaries of Li Peng”, was posted on the network by someone close to June 4, the 21st anniversary of the massacre.

The text, which can be downloaded, is also accessible to users in mainland China. The print publication of the text, edited by New Century Press, is scheduled for June 22. The publisher is Kelvin Bao Pu, son of Bao Tong, secretary and friend of the late Zhao Ziyang, the Communist secretary who in 1989 tried to prevent the massacre.

In the text Li Peng says he is "ready to die in order to prevent demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, a movement comparable to the Cultural Revolution" and adds that he "never had the authority to deploy troops, the prerogative being in the hands of the president Deng Xiaoping."

Li Peng, now 81, is believed to be in bad health, he also describes the debate within the leadership of Chinese Communist Party from the outset of student demonstrations in April 1989. According to some analysts, the publication of his memoirs is a way of trying to "cleanse" the image and blame the armed suppression on the old party comrades.

But Liang Xiaoyan, who taught at Beijing University in '89, believes that from the historical standpoint the diaries "are completely useless. It makes no sense to know one side of the story when the other has been completely silenced. You can only verify the truth of the matter within the context of a normal political atmosphere. "

In any case, now the authenticity of the text must be established. According to the publisher Bao, "My only concern is this. The public interest in the book is huge, and I think it should be published as part of our history. We spent months doing research, and it is extremely unlikely that it is a fake”.  

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