The following on Zhao Ziyang's Prisoner of State is extracted from UK Telegraph. [link]
"By insisting on my view of the student demonstrations and refusing to accept the decision to crack down with force, I knew what the consequences would be and what treatment I would receive. Mentally, I was fully prepared, I knew that if I persistently upheld my view, I would ultimately be compelled to step down. If I wanted to keep my position, or give up my post in some face-saving way, I would have to give up my viewpoint and conform. If I persisted, then I had to be prepared to step down."
Zhao Ziyang on explaining his opposition to Deng Xiaoping:
"I had no other choice but to express my views to Deng personally, in a face-to-face meeting. Since I had asked for a personal meeting with Deng, only to have Deng call for a full Standing Committee meeting at his home, I realised that things had already taken a bad turn.
"I expressed my views roughly as follows: 'The situation with the student demonstrations has worsened, and has grown extremely grave. Students, teachers, journalists, scholars and even some government staff have taken to the streets in protest. Today there were approximately 300,000 to 400,000 people. Quite a large number of workers and peasants are also sympathetic. Besides the hot issues of corruption and government transparency, the main impetus for all these different social groups is that they want an explanation for how the Party and the government can be so coldhearted in the face of hunger-striking students, doing nothing to try to save them... If the hunger strike continues and some people die, it will be like gasoline poured over a flame. If we take a confrontational stance with the masses, a dangerous situation could ensue in which we lose complete control.'
"While I was expressing my view, Deng appeared very impatient and displeased.
"In the end, Deng Xiaoping made the final decision. He said: 'Since there is no way to back down without the situation spiralling completely out of control, the decision is to move troops into Beijing and impose martial law'."
Zhao Ziyang on the Tiananmen massacre:
"On the night of June 3, while sitting in the courtyard with my family, I heard intense gunfire. A tragedy to shock the world had not been averted, and was happening after all."
Zhao Ziyang on being purged:
"Cultural Revolution-style tactics that had been condemned and abandoned long ago were taken up to be used against me. These tactics included inundating the newspapers with critical articles making me out to be an enemy, and casual disregard of my personal freedoms.
"After June 4, they entirely disregarded these rules [drawn up at the 12th Party Congress to prevent the Cultural Revolution from ever occurring again] in their treatment of me, instead openly violating them and reassuming the ultra-left tactics of the Cultural Revolution. This was something I had not anticipated."
Zhao Ziyang on the West:
"It is the Western parliamentary democratic system that has demonstrated the most vitality. This system is currently the best one available. It is able to manifest the spirit of democracy and meet the demands of a modern society.
"If a country wishes to modernise, not only should it implement a market economy, it must also adopt a parliamentary democracy as its political system. Otherwise, this nation will not be able to have a market economy that is healthy and modern, nor can it become a modern society with a rule of law."
Zhao Ziyang on political reform:
"If we don't move toward this goal, it will be impossible to resolve the abnormal conditions in China's market economy: issues such as an unhealthy market, profiting from power, rampant social corruption and a widening gap between rich and poor. Nor will the rule of law ever materialise.
"If the final destination is a parliamentary democracy, the ruling Party must achieve two breakthroughs. One is to allow other political parties and a free press to exist. This can happen gradually, but it must be pursued. The second breakthrough is having democracy within the Party: that is, the Party needs to adopt democratic procedures and use democratic means to reform itself ... Different opinions must be allowed to exist, and different factions should be made legitimate."
Will some wisdoms from the book (if applied in Singapore, like honest to goodness press freedom, stop political bullying and gerrymandeering), do our nation good too?
The book 'Prisoner of State" was also reported by Peh Shing Huei and appeared on top half of the front page of Part B 'World' section of the Straits Times today. With the help of ST's positioning, I'm sure 'Prisoner of State' will sell millions.
If only books like "Dark Clouds at Dawn" by Said Zahari, "Our Thoughts Are Free" and "That We May Dream" by Teo Soh Lung, Vincent Cheng & Victims of 'Marxist Conspiracy' were featured with the same prominence in Straits Times, I bet Singaporeans will be more politically aware and better informed.
I wonder if Lim Cheng Siong, Chia Thye Poh, Said Zahari, Teo Soh Lung, Vincent Cheng and other victims of the 'Marxist Conspiracy' were also 'Prisoners of the State' because they refused to betray their principles and core values.