BEIJING — Deng Xiaoping, 84, China's paramount leader, is presumed to have ordered June 3-4 military assault that ended the pro-democracy protests in Beijing. Deng holds only one high-ranking position--chairman of Central Military Commission of ruling Communist Party. Commission, not Defense Ministry, has final say on military matters, and that plus his personal ties to top generals gives Deng control of People's Liberation Army. Veteran of epic Long March of 1930s, Deng became general secretary of party but was purged twice by radicals during 1966-76 Cultural Revolution and then staged comeback that transformed China from country dominated by ideological battles into one with pragmatic, market-oriented economic policies.
Deng was out of public view during Beijing massacre but reappeared June 9 to congratulate military leaders for putting down "rioting." He also said that economic reforms will continue. Name pronounced: Dung Sheeow-ping.
Zhao Ziyang, 70, apparently purged in May for sympathizing with student protesters, has been general secretary of Communist Party since 1987 and nation's leading advocate of rapid economic reforms.
As governor of Sichuan province in late 1970s, he led country in successful experiments in restoring family farming. Deng brought him to Beijing in 1980, and he was quickly named premier. He became party chief in 1987 after ouster of fellow reformist Hu Yaobang, who was blamed for failing to deal with student unrest.
Zhao was last seen in public May 19 when he went to Tian An Men Square to meet student hunger strikers. Martial law was imposed in most of Beijing next day. There have been no official reports of his whereabouts, and he is said to be under house arrest. Name pronounced: Jow Dz-yawng.
Li Peng, 60, who declared martial law in Beijing on May 20, has been premier since April, 1988. Li studied in Soviet Union in 1950s and represents technocrats now filling many government offices. He opposed scope of Zhao's moves in market-oriented reforms, saying he supports plan but prefers more cautious pace.
Li briefly met student protesters in testy televised exchange just before martial law was imposed. He was out of public view during army's bloody assault on Tian An Men Square, then reappeared June 8 to thank troops for job well done. In later appearance, he delivered hard-line speech promising further steps to restore order and suppress "counterrevolutionary rebels." Name pronounced: Lee Pung.
Yang Shangkun, 82, who supported Li's declaration of martial law and led hard-liners demanding tough stand against students, became China's president, or head of state, in April, 1988.
Post of president is largely ceremonial, but Yang has close ties to Deng and holds seat on 17-member party Politburo.
Career military man, veteran of Long March who was active in Red Army campaigns in 1930s and 1940s, Yang was appointed permanent vice chairman of Central Military Commission in 1982. Yang's power in that post reportedly has grown, and some say he has been running commission.
More important, Yang has family connections in military hierarchy, particularly in 27th Army that spearheaded assault in Beijing. Name pronounced: Yawng Shawng-kwun.
Qiao Shi, 64, oversees China's secret police and intelligence operations, as well as courts, by virtue of being head of Communist Party's Political and Legal Commission. He also heads party's Discipline Inspection Commission, responsible for punishing errant members. In his most visible post, Qiao holds key position on powerful five-member Standing Committee of Communist Party Politburo. Observers see him as likely successor to Zhao Ziyang as Communist Party chief.
Qiao was born in 1924 in Zhejiang province and joined Communist Party at age 16, serving as secretary of student committee in party's underground organization in Shanghai in 1940s.
Disappeared during Cultural Revolution but resurfaced as deputy director of party's international liaison department, dealing with foreign Communist parties. Qiao was promoted to Central Committee and party Secretariat in 1982.
Qiao rarely speaks in public and is seen by analysts as more of an organization man than an innovator. A nonsmoker and nondrinker, Qiao gets up before dawn, jogs and walks for nearly an hour, before starting his 10-hour day. Name pronounced: Cheeow Sher.