Hu Jintao’s Visit to Hu Yaobang Highlights Internal Conflict
April 15 commemorates the 25th anniversary of former
Chinese Communist Party secretary Hu Yaobang’s death.
After overcoming some challenges, the Hu Yaobang
Research Association successfully held a forum honoring Hu.
Hu Jintao and the Hunan Provincial Party Secretary
visited Hu Yaobang’s residence and his museum last Friday.
Beijing political commentators say Hu Jintao’s visit to
was on behalf of Xi Jinping in order to win people over
and ease tensions before the June 4th anniversary.
However, all media coverage has been deleted,
which shows that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
treats the Hu Yaobang issue with hypocrisy.
Hong Kong’s Ming Pao reports that journalists who tried to enter
Hu Yaobang’s Beijing home yesterday were dismissed by police.
Only family friends were allowed to enter.
Hu Yaobang’s wife Li Zhao and eldest son Hu Deping
stayed inside to meet visitors.
In addition, a commemoratory forum for Hu Yaobang
has encountered interference, but was held successfully.
Independent scholar Gao Yu attended the meeting.
Gao says that the evening before the meeting,
police told her not to go.
However, she still went.
Bao Tong, former secretary of Zhao Ziyang
couldn’t join the meeting.
He told NTD that the police requested that he lay low
before June 4.
Du Guang, former Central Party School Deputy Director,
did attend the forum.
Du says that the regime didn’t completely prohibit
events commemorating Hu Yaobang.
However, only the events held by the regime are deemed legal.
For example, for Hu Yaobang’s 90 birthday anniversary in 2005,
the central CCP held a grand commemoratory event.
Nevertheless, if it is civilian organized,
it will be connected to many sensitive issues.
The major problem is that it links with
the June 4th Tiananmen Square incident.
In early years, Hu’s death triggered a massive student protest.
Du Guang says that Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang’s era
was an open and democratic time.
At that time, the educated young students longed for
freedom and democracy.
Thus Hu’s sudden death caused students protest
of anti-corruption, and calls for political reform.
Du Guang: “The regime likely believes that Hu’s death
triggered a struggle between democracy and dictatorship.
It caused bloodshed incident.
The CCP still neither wants to face up to the reason behind the
bloodshed, nor explain it, let alone apologize.
So, if Hu Yaobang is given a high-level treatment as a leader,
it will link with June 4 issue, which they don’t want to touch.”
Gao Yu, former chief editor at China Economic Weekly
participated in the June 4th protest in 1989 and was arrested.
Gao Yu: “It was because of this that Hu was demoted
from being General Secretary to being member of politburo.
Thus it upset a lot of people,
and a great movement took place after his death.
So even now, anything linked with Hu Yaobang and
June 4th are sensitive issues.
Thus the regime’s wish to control and ‘maintain stability’
includes the controlling the Hu Yaobang issue.”
Former leader Hu Jintao went to Liuyang, Hunan Province,
visiting Hu Yaobang’s residence.
In the museum, he bowed to Hu Yaobang’s statue.
Gao Yu says that Hu Jintao’s visit to Hu Yaobang’s residence
was arranged by the central regime on behalf of Xi Jinping.
Gao says that being a former general secretary of the party,
the central office arranges wherever Hu Jintao goes.
One of the reasons is that as June 4th approaches,
the regime hopes to pacify social tension.
In addition, a grand commemoratory event was held
for Hu Yaobang in 2005, during Hu Jintao’s tenure.
At that time, he wanted to improve his legitimacy via the event.
Gao Yu: “Now is the same, Hu Yaobang’s influence still exists.
It is a positive influence, not CCP’s negative influence.
Thus letting Hu Jintao commemorate Hu Yaobang is used
in order to increase the CCP’s legitimacy
and show an image of reform.”
Strangely, all news coverage about Hu Jintao visiting
Hu Yaobang’s residence has been deleted.
Du Guang: “Because when Hu Yaobang was in charge,
he essentially pursued a way of democracy.
This is incompatible with dictatorship.
Thus, affirming Hu Yaobang involves the issue of moving
towards democracy or keeping dictatorship.
It is a major issue of principle.”
Gao Yu says that Hu Yaobang was an important leader in
China’s reform and opening up.
Gao says Hu headed the vindication of miscarriages of justice
and discussion of truth standards after the Cultural Revolution,
and that without the two, the reforms wouldn’t have taken place.
Interview & Edit/QinXue Post-Production/ZhouTian