Li Ximing, 82, Beijing's Communist Party boss during the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests, died Saturday in Beijing of an unspecified illness, the official Xinhua News Agency said. No other details were given.
A longtime bureaucrat in the power and water conservancy fields, Li had been a leading member of the group of conservative veteran cadres who supported the military assault on the student-led protests in the capital's central Tiananmen Square on the night of June 3 and 4, 1989. Hundreds, possibly thousands, were killed in the action, most of them ordinary citizens seeking to block the troops' advance.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, November 15, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Li Ximing obituary: A headline on the obituary of Chinese government official Li Ximing in Wednesday's California section described Li as a Community Party leader. It should have described him as a Communist Party leader.
The defiance and resulting bloodshed marked the last serious challenge to the party's authority.
Although Li did not play a particularly prominent role in the assault on pro-democracy protests, he was credited with advocating it, alongside Beijing Mayor Chen Xitong, in a compilation of purported internal documents on the crackdown published overseas.
According to "The Tiananmen Papers," published in 2001, the two men endorsed a document labeling the protests as an "anti-Party and anti-socialist political struggle," all but eliminating the possibility of dialogue.
Li was removed from his post as part of paramount leader Deng Xiaoping's efforts to revive free market economic reforms in the years after the crackdown and given the largely ceremonial post of vice chairman of China's rubber stamp legislature. He retired entirely from public life in 1998.