FACTBOX: China's leaders and protest movement in 1989

Mon Jun 1, 2009 4:10am EDT
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(Reuters) - China's 1989 pro-democracy movement split the Communist Party leadership and triggered a power struggle that ended in a bloody crackdown on student protesters in the pre-dawn hours of June 4 that year.

Following are brief profiles of government leaders and key members of the protest movement at the time:

* DENG XIAOPING, then the power behind the throne in China, sent in tanks and troops to crush the student-led demonstrations for democracy centered on Beijing's Tiananmen Square. He died on February 19, 1997, aged 92, after reviving the economy with a dramatic tour of the south in 1992.

* ZHAO ZIYANG was toppled as China's Communist Party chief after challenging Deng's decision to crush the protests. Zhao died in Beijing in 2005, after 15 years under house arrest. His secret memoirs were published last month.

* JIANG ZEMIN rose from Communist Party boss of Shanghai, where he ended parallel protests without bloodshed, to oust Zhao as national Party chief in 1989. Jiang held on to power for 13 years before retiring in 2002.

* LI PENG is known as the "Butcher of Beijing" for declaring martial law on national television days before the crackdown. Reviled by many, Li remained premier until 1998. Writing in retirement, Li has reportedly sought to clear his name, but the Party has banned publication of his memoirs.

* HU JINTAO, now China's top leader, was Party secretary in Tibet in 1989. He declared martial law in Lhasa in March 1989, following clashes between Tibetan protesters and police.

* WEN JIABAO, Zhao's chief of staff, accompanied him to Tiananmen Square when Zhao tearfully appealed to students to leave. Zhao was ousted, but Wen became premier in 2003.

* BAO TONG, Zhao's top aide, was the most senior official jailed for sympathizing with the protesters. Still under constant police surveillance, he is now a critic of China's human rights record and the slow pace of political reform.   Continued...