Former Chinese Reformist Leader’s Last Wish

By Li Zhen, Epoch Times
May 18, 2009 6:28 pm Last Updated: October 1, 2015 9:48 pm

Zhao Ziyang's secretary accepted an Epoch Times interview, saying the publication of Zhao's book was directed by him, because this was the last task Zhao requested of him. (The Epoch Times)
Zhao Ziyang's secretary accepted an Epoch Times interview, saying the publication of Zhao's book was directed by him, because this was the last task Zhao requested of him. (The Epoch Times)
Twenty years after the Tiananmen Square Massacre, four years after former reformist Chinese regime leader Zhao Ziyang's death, his former secretary Mr. Bao Tong managed to publish his biography Prisoner of the State just before the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre with a Chinese language edition soon to be release.

In an Epoch Times interview, Mr Bao confirmed the authenticity of the book, which originated from Zhao’s secret voice recordings during his house arrest. “I can confirm it is his (Zhao Ziyang’s) voice,” said Bao, emphasizing “the publication of the book is under my direct supervision.”

Bao also explained why he decide to publish the English version of the book first, “It was decided according to the situation in China. If the Chinese version comes out first it could be quashed [by the Communist Party]. If the English version comes out first, and is recognized by the international community, the survival of the Chinese version won’t be a problem.”

The book can be summarized into two parts, a review of China’s economic reforms and Zhao’s version of the history of the Massacre, during which he was purged out of the communist leadership group for taking the students’ side.

Bao believes the most important part in the book is Zhao’s judgment of the regime’s economic reforms in China, “As long as one wants long-term stability in China, one needs realize parliamentary democracy… without that, a market economy will definitely lead to corruption.”

Musings on a True Modernization

Zhao praised western parliamentary democracy as the true democracy, even it has its shortcomings, but no other system is better in the current stage. “As an over 70 year-old communist member, after his many years of observation, he (Zhao) believed China should adopt a western style parliamentary democracy. I believe this is his most important conclusion.” said Bao.

Bao also revealed that it was Zhao’s long time wish, and last wish to publish this book, “I believe he drafted it in 1993, and recorded it on the tapes in 2000. In 1992, he had already asked my wife to pass me a message, when I was still in prison, serving a seven year sentence.” Zhao encouraged Bao saying, imprisonment is a rest, have a good rest, and then help him to publish a book. At that time, Zhao had decided the book’s title should be Ten Years In Beijing.

However, publishing his book was complicated by the fact that Bao has lived under constant surveillance in Beijing since his release in 1996.

Zhao’s tapes only reached Bao after his death. “I got those materials around 2007 and 2008, my thought at that time was to speed up my work and publish it as soon as possible.” said Bao. However, the real situation was very complicated,

Bao said it is coincidence but has significant meaning that the book was published just before the twentieth anniversary of the Massacre, and the current Chinese leaders should make a public decision, whether their nation’s troops should ever be used against its own people again.

Read this article in Chinese.