Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Crackdown was avoidable, says former Beijing mayor
BEIJING -- Beijing's mayor during the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown is quoted in a forthcoming book as calling it avoidable while also denying direct responsibility for the military action against democracy protesters.
Chen Xitong was later removed as the city's Communist Party boss for corruption and his comments are surprising given he has often been portrayed as a supporter of the crackdown.
The comments are likely to add to a debate among party elders and scholars about the need to reassess Tiananmen and other taboo periods in recent history.
Retired government researcher Yao Jianfu said Chen spoke to him for a book being published this week in Hong Kong.
-- The Associated Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 2, 2012 J12