BEIJING — China today completed its purge of disgraced former Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang, removing him from his last government post for what senior leader Deng Xiaoping called "serious mistakes."
Zhao, who sympathized with students seeking democratic reforms, was ousted as vice chairman of the State Central Military Commission by the Chinese legislature. Deng engineered Zhao's formal removal as party leader last weekend.
Deng wrote in a letter to the National People's Congress saying that "since Comrade Zhao Ziyang has committed serious mistakes, I proposed his dismissal," the official New China News Agency said.
President Yang Shangkun, who spent his career in the military, was reportedly seeking Zhao's post of senior vice chairman, second only to Deng in the military hierarchy. Yang has extensive contacts among the military leadership and was a strong supporter of the martial law decree announced by Premier Li Peng in May.