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Prisoner of the State

by Bao Pu Renee Chiang Adi Ignatius

How often can you peek behind the curtains of one of the most secretive governments in the world? Prisoner of the State is the first book to give readers a front row seat to the inner workings of China. It is the story of Premier Zhao Ziyang, the man who brought liberal change to that nation and who, at the height of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, tried to stop the massacre and was dethroned for his efforts. When China's army moved in, killing hundreds of students and other demonstrators, Zhao was placed under house arrest at his home in Beijing. China's most promising advocate for change had been disgraced, along with the policies he stood for. The Premier spent the last 16 years of his life, up until his death in 2005, in seclusion. China scholars often lamented that Zhao never had his final say. As it turns out, Zhao did produce a memoir, in complete secrecy. He methodically recorded his thoughts and recollections on what had happened behind the scenes during many of modern China's most critical moments. The tapes he produced were smuggled out of the country and form the basis for Prisoner of the State. In this audio journal, Zhao provides intimate details about the Tiananmen crackdown; he describes the ploys and double-crosses China's top leaders use to gain advantage over one another; and he talks of the necessity for China to adopt democracy in order to achieve long-term stability. A moving and riveting memoir, Zhao's voice has the moral power to make China sit up and listen.

Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang

by Bao Pu Renee Chiang Adi Ignatius

In May 1988, Zhao proposed accelerating price reform. Because it caused inflation, this led to a huge debate about the proper way to proceed, and gave an opening to the hard-liners like Lie Peng and Yao Yilin who were becoming concerned about Zhao's views. Zhao found himself in multi-front turf battles with these party elders. By the beginning of 1989, Zhao was fighting for his own political survival. As it happened, the student protests triggered by the sudden death of former CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang, widely seen as a reform-minded leader, provided Zhao with a golden opportunity to regain the political upper-hand and to advance his reform agenda. But that's not what happened.

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