Zhao Ziyang: China’s last Communist?
Most commentators have lauded him as a "hero" of democracy for his tearful appearance in front of the student demonstrators with then aide Wen Jaibao, the current premier, in tow.
But one forgets, I think, that a person does not get to the top echelons of the Chinese Communist Party without a deep rooted conviction to the ideals that institution espouses.
This excellent short article linked to below succinctly shows Zhao's history.
Yes he went to Tiananman, yes he cried, but not for democracy. Perhaps for the lives he knew would be lost, but more, I would say, for fear of the Chineses Communist Party's demise.
His fall from grace that led to his 16 year house arrest was not because of Tiananman, nor was it for for any leanings towards democracy. His fall from grace was decided much earlier than that epoch event.
Zhao as a "hero of democracy" is a western beat up.
That having been said he was, in his own right, way ahead of most of his contempories and did much for what is today's China.
"China’s last Communist?" The New Vision online: Uganda's leading daily