DHARAMSALA, 24 July: Li Penguin, the Chinese Communist leader who wielded the axe on the pro-democracy student protests at the Tiananmen Square in 1989, died in Beijing.
He reportedly died of illness in Beijing at the age of 91 on late Monday night, Chinese state media reported on Tuesday.
Li’s death is a great loss for the country, the report on Xinhua stated and it further hailed him as a great communist leader and statesman.
A hardliner in the Communist Party, Li Pang was the only Chinese leader to serve as both the country’s Premier of the People’s Republic of China and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
He served as the fourth Premier of the People’s Republic of China from 1987 to 1998 and the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, from 1998 to 2003.
But he is best known for the brutal Tiananmen Square crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters in 1989 when soldiers killed hundreds of unarmed people.
The man often referred to as the butcher and held responsible for the mass murder of the Tiananmen Square massacre by activists and rights group alike, took a clear stance and, made decisive moves to “end the counter-revolutionary riot” during the Tiananmen protest, the report added.
Li, then acting premier in 1987, told student leaders during a confrontational meeting that the situation “will not develop as you wish and expect” and the following night, on 3 June, he ordered the martial law in the capital “to end the turmoil” on national television.
Wang Dan, a leader of the student protests now living in exile in the United States, called Li an “enforcer and butcher” in the crackdown, and renewed calls for official condemnation of the violence, reports the SCMP.
“A new verdict on June 4 should still hold Li accountable, even after his death,” Wang was quoted as saying in the report.