HONG KONG--The mayor of Beijing at the time of the Tiananmen Square crackdown now believes the deadly violence against protesters could have been avoided and points the finger of blame at Deng Xiaoping, the supreme leader at the time.
Chen Xitong, 81, was the Beijing mayor in 1989 when the Tiananmen Square incident broke out. His memoirs are scheduled to be released on June 1 in Hong Kong.
In his book, Chen says about the Tiananmen Square incident, "The outcome could have been avoided if the situation had been handled better."
Military troops who were called to Tiananmen Square fired on the student protesters who were demanding more democracy.
One theory about why the military was called out in the first place had Chen and other high-ranking Beijing municipal officials exaggerating the situation in their reports to Deng.
However, in his memoirs Chen denied that chain of events and emphasized that Deng made the decision to call out the military.
"There was no way we could have fooled Deng," Chen said. "He was able to ascertain what was happening at the site through a number of different information routes."
Chen also touched upon a document said to be the diary of Li Peng, who was premier at the time of the Tiananmen Square incident, in which Chen was described as being in command of the martial law headquarters that was set up to deal with the incident.
Chen denied having such direct responsibility.
"All I did was ensure that water, electricity and food were being properly supplied within the city," he said.
In 1995, Chen fell from power on suspicions that he accepted bribes when he was Beijing mayor. He was imprisoned after receiving a 16-year sentence in 1998, but was released after a few years due to poor health.
Chen described the corruption charge as "the biggest case of false arrest after the Cultural Revolution of a high-ranking party official" and said it was due to a power struggle.
He also denied rumors that he sent letters to high-ranking party officials in an attempt to bring down then President Jiang Zemin in 1995.
"I supported and respected Jiang," Chen said.
The memoir was put together through interviews with Chen at his hospital by Yao Jianfu, a retired researcher at the Rural Development Research Center of the State Council.
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