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Turmoil In China : Crackdown on Dissent : New Party Chief Named in China : Zhao Replaced by Hard-Liner; Other Key Positions Reshuffled

June 25, 1989|DAVID HOLLEY | Times Staff Writer

Over the past two months, the communique said, the party has faced "a serious political struggle" against "premeditated political turmoils" and "a counterrevolutionary rebellion." The Central Committee session "highly evaluated the significant role played in the struggle by veteran proletarian revolutionaries with Comrade Deng Xiaoping as their representative," the communique said.

Jiang thus can be viewed as the choice of this fading older generation to be Deng's eventual successor as China's paramount leader.

Jiang does not appear, however, to have a strong enough political base in the party at the present time to assure his authority without the support of the elderly leaders who chose him. His selection thus does not eliminate the possibility of a serious succession crisis upon Deng's death.

Shunted to Sidelines

The removal of Zhao from his post as general secretary had been foreseen for weeks. He was reportedly shunted to the sidelines and stripped of authority after opposing the decision to declare martial law in Beijing on May 20. He had last been seen in public on the morning of May 19, when he visited students then on hunger strike in Tian An Men Square.

It was only in the past few days, however, that Jiang's name emerged in the Beijing rumor mill as a leading candidate to replace Zhao.

The Chinese media had previously given extensive signals that Qiao, the official in charge of security matters, was functioning as acting party head. But Qiao has long had a reputation as someone who seems content to be in a No. 2 position, and he lacks expertise in economic affairs.

Jiang is better equipped than Qiao to press forward with attempts to attract foreign investment to China in the face of worldwide condemnation of the brutal June 3-4 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people were killed that night as the People's Liberation Army shot its way into central Beijing to clear protesters from Tian An Men Square.

Jiang is unlikely, however, to display much sympathy for the type of political liberalization that Zhao ultimately came to symbolize. Saturday's communique made it clear that while attempts to modernize the economy will continue, China's rulers intend to redouble efforts to crush any challenges to the Communist Party's authority.

The party will "earnestly enhance ideological and political work and make great efforts to carry out education in patriotism, socialism, independence and self-reliance, plain living and hard work," the communique declared. It also will step up efforts to oppose "bourgeois liberalization"--a phrase that refers to the spread of Western concepts of democracy and civil liberties.

Student Unrest

"Analyzing the country's political situation over the past two months, the session pointed out that a very small number of people, taking advantage of student unrest, stirred up planned, organized and premeditated political turmoils in Beijing and some other places, which later developed into a counterrevolutionary rebellion in Beijing," the communique stated.

"The aim of the turmoils and rebellion they incited was to overthrow the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and to subvert the socialist People's Republic of China," it said.

Zhao, the communique said, holds "unshirkable responsibilities for the shaping-up of the turmoils."

The communique praised Zhao as having made contributions "beneficial to the reform, the opening of China to the outside world and economic work" during his years as a top government and party leader, but it declared that he "obviously erred in guidelines and practical work."

Zhao was accused of a "passive approach" to the principles of adherence to Communist Party dictatorship and opposition to bourgeois liberalization. He "gravely neglected party building, cultural and ethical development and ideological and political work, causing serious losses to the cause of the party."

'Look Further'

For these failures, Zhao was removed from all of his high party positions, including membership on the Politburo and the party Central Committee, and the post of first vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, the communique said. No mention was made of loss of party membership or possible criminal charges, but the party "decided to look further into his case," the communique said.

Despite their demotions, Hu, Rui and Yan apparently retained membership on the Central Committee, which leaves open the possibility that they could eventually regain some influence should there be a reformist resurgence after Deng's death.

JIANG ZEMIN Profiling the new leader and his outlook for China. Pages 7-8.

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