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Former Chinese leader who sympathized with Tiananmen protestors dies

[JURIST] Former Communist Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang [Wikipedia profile] died Monday at age 85, after suffering a series of strokes. Communist Party hardliners put Zhao under house arrest in 1989 for sympathizing with pro-democracy and human rights activists in Tiananmen Square [Wikipedia article]; after martial law was declared, the Tiananmen gathering was crushed by the military [BBC report] at a cost of hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives [China Support Network press release; testimonials by victims' families]. Zhao was never seen in public again after that. In an apparent effort to minimize public reaction and any outbreak of reformist sympathies [AP report], the Chinese government has reacted to Zhao's death by issuing a terse two sentence acknowledgement [via Xinhua news agency] and blocking all radio and television reports of his passing. Groups supporting the cause of human rights in China are meanwhile mourning Zhao's death [China Support Network tribute]. The London Times has more.

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