June 1, 2009 / 8:14 AM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: China's leaders and protest movement in 1989

(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.

* WANG DAN, then a 20-year-old Peking University history major, was a high-profile student leader. Jailed twice, he was released into exile in 1998. Wang is now a guest researcher at Oxford University and chairman of the Chinese Constitutional Reform Association. He has not been allowed back to China.

* CHAI LING, then a 23-year-old psychology student, urged students to stay in Tiananmen Square rather than accept a negotiated withdrawal in May 1989. She escaped China after 10 months in hiding, graduated from Harvard Business School and is now chief operating officer of Jenzabar, a Boston-based firm that develops Internet portals for universities.

* WU’ER KAIXI, then a 21-year-old Uighur, was a hunger striker who rebuked then-premier Li Peng on national television. He fled to France and then studied at Harvard University, but came under attack for his extravagant lifestyle in exile. He now works at an investment firm in Taiwan, and China rejected his request to return to visit his aging parents.

* FANG LIZHI, a professor of astrophysics, inspired Chinese intellectuals in the mid-1980s by declaring science should not be determined by Marxist theory. He sought and was granted political asylum in the United States and is now a physics professor at the University of Arizona.

* LIU XIAOBO, a literary critic, led hunger strikes on Tiananmen Square and was subsequently jailed. He was the most prominent of the signatories of “Charter 08,” a manifesto calling for more rights, freedom of speech and multi-party elections. He was detained before its December release and is held in an undisclosed location near Beijing.

* HAN DONGFANG, then a 27-year-old railway worker, helped set up the Beijing Autonomous Workers’ Federation, the first independent trade union in communist-ruled China, during the 1989 protests. Imprisoned and exiled, Han is now in Hong Kong where he runs China Labour Bulletin, a non-governmental organization that seeks to defend the rights of Chinese workers.

(For a graphic of the events in 1989, click

here )

Compiled by Lucy Hornby and Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Nick Macfie and Dean Yates

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