Chinese President Yang Shangkun
, left, leads Japan's Emperor Akihito as they review an honor guard during a welcome ceremony outside Beijing's Great Hall of the People in October 1992 Image Credit: AP
Asia and the world must never forget one of the foremost leaders in Asian history, China's "Paramount Leader" Deng Xiaoping and its President Yang Shangkun
and the USSR's President Boris Yeltsin for the classic Border Agreement between China and Russia that resolved what could have been an explosive and ruinous conflict between the two major powers, with Russia still supported by its satellite states at the time and both already wielding nuclear weapons.
The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, a Hong Kong-based watchdog, quoted an unidentified person said to be close to former President Yang Shangkun
as saying the late president told a guest to his home the death toll after Beijing sent troops to quash student protests.
One of Deng's most important acts in the early 1990s was to ensure that a core of these senior military leaders--two brothers, Yang Shangkun
and Yang Baibing--were quickly forced into retirement.
Thus, it is no accident that close associates of Yang Shangkun
, who ran the martial law operation, provided much material to the compiler of The Tiananmen Papers.
Tensions between reformists and conservatives are overplayed, he says, noting that this month's death of former President Yang Shangkun
, aged 91, consigns to history President Mao Zedong's era of the Long March.
Former Chinese President Yang Shangkun
, a general-turned-politician who helped modernise China's army and then sent it against student-led protesters, died yesterday aged 91.
The only really active Immortal is Yang Shangkun
, 88, a senior general whom Deng sidelined two years ago for some murky political misdeed involving post-Deng political planning.
In late December 1989, during his visit to Cairo, with the help of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, PRC President Yang Shangkun
secretly met with a special envoy of Saudi Arabia.