Bao Tong, the former chief aide of Chinese leader Zhao Ziyan, died at the age of 90  China

Bao Tong, the former chief aide of Chinese leader Zhao Ziyan, died at the age of 90 China

Bao Tong, the former chief aide of Chinese leader Zhao Ziyan, died at the age of 90 China

Bao Tong, the highest-ranking Chinese Communist Party official, was jailed in the case Tiananmen Democratic Movementdied four days after his 90th birthday.

Former Chief Assistant reformist leader Zhao ZiyangA sympathizer of a student movement crushed by the military in 1989 died early Wednesday in Beijing, his son Bao Pu said in a brief Twitter post.

His daughter Bao Jian said in another post that “he was still full of hope for this land.” He quoted his words on the occasion of his 90th birthday on Saturday. “Man has a short historical existence in the world… whether I live to be 90 years old or not is insignificant, but the important thing is that we strive for today and the future… and do what we can, must and must do.”

Dissident journalist Gao Yu, a close friend of Bao, said in his post that he died of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a rare type of blood cancer. Gao, who is under constant police surveillance, said he hoped he would be allowed to attend Bao’s funeral on November 15, although he was barred from attending the funeral of Bao’s wife in August. The funeral is likely to be an extremely sensitive event that dissidents and activists will be barred from attending.

Bao Tong, the former chief aide of Chinese leader Zhao Ziyan, died at the age of 90  China
Zhao Ziyang (left) and Bao Tong (right) in 1989. Photo: EPA

Bao was the director of the Communist Party’s Political Reform Office before the government used armed troops and tanks to suppress the pro-democracy movement. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for “publishing state secrets” and “inciting counter-revolutionary propaganda”, which he said were fabricated. After his release in 1997, he was detained for another year and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

He had become one of the Communist Party’s most vocal critics over the past two decades, writing essays and speaking to reporters whenever he could under scrutiny. In recent years, he has used Twitter to air his criticisms Xi Jinpingpolitics and ideological hardening.

Bao, who played a key role in Zhao Qiang’s economic and political reforms during China’s “era of reform and opening up,” was a member of the party’s central committee and would have been a leading candidate for the powerful Politburo if not for the pressure. He said the June 4, 1989 crackdown that killed hundreds or thousands of people must be “totally repudiated” if China was to move forward.

Bao later said he did not regret his personal fate, but felt sorry for his compatriots who had been denied free speech for more than two decades, and said the silencing of dissent had disastrous consequences.



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