As the curtain closed on China's Cultural Revolution a new revolution was sweeping the country in the form of free market reforms and it was spearheaded by Zhao Ziyang who had many prominent supporters in the upper echelons of the Communist Party of China. Trading has always been part of the essence of China who lay claim to being the oldest living civilisation. Culture and being civilised is steeped into the DNA of Chinese people who are instinctively drawn to improve themselves through hard work and education. Dignity and respect are two other Chinese traits that exemplify the spirit of a people so rooted in the past that it gives them a base for the future. Zhao's free market reforms were something that the Chinese people took to in their stride and surprised the world with their explosive economic growth. With their cultural history and aptitude for trade the Chinese were always one or two generations from rising back to their status of a world leading economy, it just needed the right leaders in place to steer the people to do what they have always done innovate and compete. Zhao Ziyang was that leader with the ideas to put China back on the economic map where it belonged but for all his successes he will always be remembered as the Chinese leader with a good soul who tried to prevent the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. His "we are old, you are young" quote to the students has embellished him into the hearts of the world even though his attempt ended in failure he still tried, full in the knowledge that his actions would be political suicide. China is well on the way to becoming the worlds largest economy at some point in the 21st century, but I also think how high and how much faster would their growth have been if Zhao had succeeded that day back in Tiananen in 1989. World statesmen often make great one liners, so here is my compilation of 10 of the best Zhao Ziyang quotes.
- Mini Bio
- Name: Ziyang Zhao
- Born: 17th October 1919, Hua County, Henan, China
- Died: 17th January 2005, Beijing, China
- Occupation: Politician, statesman and the third Premier of the People's Republic of China
- Political party: Communist Party of China
- Best known for: His failed attempt to prevent the Tiananmen Square massacre
- Book: His memoirs 'Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang' were published in 2009 after they had been secretly smuggled out of the country by sympathisers to his cause
- Trivia: After the Tiananmen Square massacre Zhao was arrested and placed under house arrest for fifteen years until his death in 2005
"Communists should be the first to be concerned about other people and country and the last to enjoy themselves"
"While going for economic construction, we must of course hold to the path of socialism. But we have had a lot of muddled ideas about socialism in the past"
"You are still young, we are old, you must live healthy, and see the day when China accomplishes the Four Modernizations"
"Refusing to accept the decision to crack down with force, I knew what the consequences would be and what treatment I would receive"
"I knew that if I persistently upheld my view, I would ultimately be compelled to step down"
"I had no other choice but to express my views to Deng personally, in a face-to-face meeting"
"While I was expressing my view, Deng appeared very impatient and displeased"
"Cultural Revolution-style tactics that had been condemned and abandoned long ago were taken up to be used against me"
"We are already old, we do not matter anymore"
"I realized that things had already taken a bad turn"