Under pressure of appeals from both inside China and abroad, the Chinese government has agreed to hold a ceremony to honor the late Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang, but the response falls far short of satisfying the requests from both inside the CCP and outside.
According to a Washington Post report from January 21, a few retired Politburo members, including Wan Li, a former Chairman of the People's National Congress, and Tian Jiyun, former Vice Premier, have requested that the central leadership restore Zhao Ziyang’s reputation. More than 20 other party veterans have also called on the central leadership to grant Zhao a state funeral.
Zhao Ziyang’s death has again elicited divergent views towards the June 4th incident (the Tiananmen Square Massacre) inside the CCP itself. The Washington Post yesterday quoted sources inside the Chinese Communist Party that 88 year-old Wan Li and 75 year-old Tian Jiyun had both recently proposed that the central leadership restore Zhao Ziyang’s name. Wan Li has asked at least one retired Party leader to return to Beijing to show support for his appeal for Zhao’s rehabilitation. Tian Jiyun is the only senior Party official who publicly visited Zhao in the hospital during his illness.
According to The Washington Post, even though the Chinese government has decided to hold a memorial ceremony for Zhao, more than 20 party veterans have also called on the central leadership to grant Zhao a state funeral for his great contribution to the nation’s policies of reform and opening up.
According to a Voice Of America report on January 21, Hu Jiwei, who is the former People's Daily editor-in-chief, a member of People's National Congress, as well as the assistant director of the Committee on Education, Science, Arts and Health , submitted a letter to the Central Committee of the CCP on the day of Zhao’s death. In the letter, Hu stated emphatically that Zhao had made important contributions to the nation, that he would be remembered for hundreds of generations, even for eternity. He requested that the government and the CCP central leadership hold a grand public memorial service for Zhao according to the standards for the original premier and general secretary. He further urged that the Party immediately rehabilitate Zhao’s name.
Li Pu, former vice-president of Xinhua News Agency, held the same viewpoint. Li visited Zhao three times during his house arrest. Li pointed out that the CCP’s treatment of Zhao was illegal and that rehabilitating Zhao’s name and holding memorial services for him would be good for the current government and the Party, and would not have any negative side effects.